Unfair Contract Terms


When a dispute arises over a clause in a contract, it is easy for the party defending this clause to say ‘well, you should have read the contract’. But how many of us actually take the time to trawl through the small print when signing up to an agreement? Most of us will assume good faith, and rely on our statutory rights to protect us. However, complaints regarding minimum term clauses in mobile phone contracts and gym membership contracts, as well as the use of exclusion or indemnity clauses by unscrupulous firms is proof that this can be a false assumption.

Such contract terms may be found to be unfair, and hence legally unenforceable. For guidance on this, we refer to the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. In a nutshell, this piece of legislation protects consumers who enter into legally binding agreements with suppliers where the contract is biased in favour of the supplier. Unfair clauses are those which try to exclude any of the following:

  • liability for negligence in the event of death or personal injury. Liability for loss or damage may be excluded, but only where it is considered reasonable.
  • liability for breach of contract. This includes situations in which the supplier did not carry out their contractual obligations (the item was not as described or the service not carried out)
  • Indemnity clauses are those which protect an individual or a supplier from legal action in the event of professional negligence
  • Product guarantees designed to protect the consumer in case of damage of defect
  • Statutory rights with regard to Sale of Goods and Supply of Goods and Services legislation.
  • Misrepresentation in the form of false or inaccurate claims

The following are also taken into account when deciding whether a clause is ‘reasonable’ or not:

  • The relative strengths of supplier and consumer and whether there is a significant imbalance
  • Whether you were offered an inducement to agree to the term
  • Whether the items purchased were produced or adapted to your particular requirements.

More recently introduced European Regulations clarify further definitions of what constitutes ‘unfair’.

  1. Making the arrangement legally binding on you, but not on the supplier.
  2. Allowing the supplier to retain money in the event that you cancel, but not obliging the supplier to pay compensation in the event that they cancel.
  3. The requirement for you to pay cancellation charges which are disproportionately high.
  4. Allowing the supplier to dissolve the contract on a discretionary basis, without giving you the same right.
  5. Allowing the supplier to cancel the contract without reasonable notice to you.
  6. Automatic contract renewals where you are not given reasonable opportunity to prevent the renewal.
  7. Incorporating legally binding contractual terms without giving you reasonable opportunity to become familiar with them before signing.
  8. Allowing the seller to alter the terms of the contract without a valid reason which is specified in the contract.
  9. Allowing the supplier to determine the price at the time of delivery, or significantly increasing the price without giving you the chance to cancel.
  10. Giving the supplier the right to determine whether the goods you receive are as described or allowing him to interpret contractual terms as he sees fit.
  11. Legally obliging you to fulfil your obligations, while not obliging the supplier to fulfil his.
  12. Allowing the seller to transfer his rights and obligations if it affects any product guarantees you may have with him.
  13. Not allowing or restricting your right to take legal action against him for negligence or breach of contract

For further information, see the regulations themselves:


Leave a Comment

60 comments… add one

  • Sarah Gillmore 16 January, 11:01 pm

    Hi Catriona,

    On 3rd Jan i bought a laptop in Currys & the man sold me modem on 3 network. I asked him what coverage was like at my addres & said it was good but did not view with a map supplied by 3 (i have later found out). My terms do say i only have 3 days to return. Whilst on internet it freezes and logs off internet & have only 2 bars so i know its due to coverage as i work for Vodafone. 2 calls to 3 c.services tell me they cannot cancel & it shows good coverage & i need to pay over £100 early cancellation fee. Then he said if it was bought online i would have had 14 days. What are my rights of entitlement to cancel within 14 days?
    Thank You. Kind Regards

    Reply
  • Catriona 19 January, 3:45 pm

    Sarah, Phones4U were recently in trouble with Ofcom for claims to customers that coverage was good without checking – which was misselling. You have a statutory 7 day coling off period if you buy online, unfortunately you don’t have this right if you buy in-store. Howver, you have a good case for arguing that it isn’t fit for the purposes specified. Particularly as you asked the sales assistant, he assured you it would work and it didn’t. In this case, the £100 fee should not apply because technically it is in breach of your statutory rights and it isn’t a case of you changing your mind. Go back to 3 and request to have this escalated as a dispute citing Sale of Goods. See also:
    http://whatconsumer.co.uk/and-if-my-statutory-rights-are-breached/

    Reply
  • Nevander 7 February, 7:21 pm

    I had a hire purchase agreement with Peugeot. At the end of that contract they asked if I wanted to keep the car and I said no, but that I wanted to know how much they would charge, because it was over the contracted mileage. They didn’t tell me, but I still gave back the car, because I didn’t want it. There was only £2,708 left to pay on the contract for me to keep the car. Peugeot nevertheless charged me the whole £2,708 even though I gave the car back! They based this on the contract mileage clause. They said that this clause was fair because it was the amount they had to pay back to the Manufacturer- an amount which was apparently also based on the mileage. This doesn’t seem fair to me.

    Reply
  • Rachel Hopkins 10 February, 9:04 pm

    Hi,

    I’ve recently been billed £126.00 for renewal of my web-site that I no longer require. I’ve been in touch with the provider and they say an email was sent to me 2 weeks before the renewal, when I should have cancelled if necessary. They now refuse to give me a refund, quoting one of their contract clauses. They also say they have renewed as per the original contract. But that only cost me £25 or something minimal.

    Can they legally take money from my credit card without having express permission from me?

    Many thanks

    Reply
  • Catriona 18 February, 9:29 pm

    Rachel, this is a very common complaint at the moment. Although what these companies are doing is not unlawful, they don’t give you long enough or provide ample opportunity to cancel. They also put the rolling renewal policy, as well as the enhanced amount of money in small print, so you can’t immediately see it. There are calls to make this practice unlawful, but for now, I don’t think there is a lot you can do. Please let me know if you hear otherwise.

    Reply
  • Catriona 18 February, 10:18 pm

    Nevander, I can’t understand this. Surely if you had a maximum mileage clause in your contract, it would also state how much extra they would charge you per mile to go over this? It is usually only about 4p per mile over the agreed amount.

    Reply
  • KK 27 February, 4:07 pm

    I paid a deposit back in December 08 (£300) for a training course which is scheduled to happen in May 09 and I signed the T&C at the time. I no longer wish to pursue this and have given them written notice in Feb 09, which I believe is a reasonable amount of notice, to cancel. I am now being asked to pay 50% of the course fee because I signed the T&C – this will be around £600. Is there any way to sort this out? I haven’t got the money and I do not want their services (training). Can the unfair contract terms help me with this issue? I believe the cancellation charges are disproportionately high in this case.

    Reply
  • Catriona 3 March, 2:06 pm

    KK, with courses you must remember that the company may have had to turn other people away from the course if it was full and the £600 therefore represents compensation against loss of income due to your cancellation. However you could well claim that 3 months in advance is reasonable time and therefore such a high cancellation charge is disproportionately high if in fact the course is not full. The OFT recognise this kind of thing as ‘unfair’, but there is no amount or percentage given in law. Under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regs a term may be considered unfair if it has the object or effect of ‘requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation under the contract to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation’ (paragraph 1 (e) of Schedule 2). Have a look at this:
    http://www.oft.gov.uk/advice_and_resources/resource_base/legal/unfair-terms/guidance

    Reply
  • john potts 25 March, 11:46 pm

    Hi,

    I bought a watch from this store and was given a receipt that has on a term which i think is unfair. it is stated that

    This shop accepts no liability for any faults in merchandise caused by the customer. In the unlikely event that any of our merchandise should otherwise be found to be faulty, this shop will only replace or refund, where appropriate the said merchandise, upon proof of payment and return to this shop of the merchandise in its original packaging. All claims regarding any fault must be notified no later than 4 weeks from date of purchase”

    I was wondering if i could claim any compensation based on time wasted and stress?

    Reply
  • Catriona 26 March, 12:10 pm

    John, the information is correct except for the 4 weeks thing – this is to deny you of your statutory right to quality and durability. You have the right to a remedy if the item develops premature wear/tear/faults at any time and not only in the first 4 weeks. You might like to inform them of this? It is unlikely that you would be able to claim compensation unless you can prove significant economic loss or personal injury.

    Reply
  • john potts 26 March, 12:36 pm

    Hi Catriona, sorry to be a pain, but does this mean that even though the item is faulty and without the box I cannot gain a refund? even though I have a proof of purchase?

    Reply
  • Catriona 26 March, 1:15 pm

    John, irrespective of what this clause is saying, your statutory rights dictate that you can get a refund if a repair or a replacement is not possible. And this is at any time (within reason), bot just in the first 4 months. You must have proof of purchase – which you have, and the item needn’t be returned in the original packaging either. Shops often say this but it isn’t a legal requirement.

    Reply
  • floorwalker 4 April, 6:32 am

    My daughter, a train driver, joined a karate club, and has been paying each month by DD an express term of her joining was that she may not be able to attend when required due to her shift work nature and the fact that she is obliged under safety regulations to have a certain amount of sleep prior to beginning a shift. This was accepted. The club has without consultation changed the amount of lessons offered in a week to a lesser number of hours. She has now moved from the area and it is now not possible for her to attend the lessons and comply with safety regulations on her rest time. She has politely asked that her membership be cancelled as it is simply not possible for her to attend and they have by changing the lessons times made it even more impossible but they are refusing to agree and are threatening to take her now to court. What can she do?

    Reply
  • Catriona 6 April, 5:16 pm

    Floorwalker, if you have an agreement to pay a specific amount of money for a specific number of hours for a fixed amount of time, then this is legally binding. Altering the terms of this agreement without prior consultation and agreement (and the option to withdraw) may leave the karate club in breach of contract. This breach will give you the right to terminate the contract without further penalty. Having said this I should also say that it is not unlawful for a club to refuse withdrawal from contract on the basis of a move away from the area unless this is specifically provided for in the contract.

    Reply
    • Paul 25 September, 9:55 am

      I have a similar issue with a “karate club”

      “4.If you move away from the area by a distance which we consider, at our sole discretion, to be too far to travel to the services for regular use. we provide written evidence that this is so.”

      This clause sounds unfair.

      Also if you want to cancel early you have to pay the entire amount owing, 24 months and 12 months.

      Reply
  • Cath 25 February, 2:47 pm

    I have had 2 properties on the market with an estate agent,one being a late parents.
    We took them off the market and were told we owed £300 per property, we had not been told this at the time of signing and had asked if there would be a charge, we were told no, sole agents for 6 months (later refused whilst on the market with him at all) and 14 days notice. I WOULD NOT have signed if I new I had a charge to pay. He insisted we sign there and then so he could get marketing our properties asap, we did as we had to leave to pick children up from school. He assured us verbally all was fine.
    We then realised that after promising to advertise the properties, he failed to do so. He failed to give us the promised feedback and also failed to take new photograhs when he had promised to do so.
    He has admitted all this to the property ombudsman whom we complained to but they went off the written contract where no promises were stated. The contract is on going with no end date so he told us unless we paid him £600 we had to stay with him until the poroperties were sold. All these promises are verbal and are written in the property ombudsman’s report. He hand delivered a letter after midnight, sent texts with smiley face all very unprofessional, we have a voicemail from him telling us about our promised advertising. I have had debt collector letters threatening me with court and CCJs unless i pay, he has accused me of being a thief.
    Any help would be very much appreciated
    thank you

    Reply
  • Manish Singh 26 May, 11:29 am

    Hi,
    I have been running a small computer software related business since 2007. We were renting an office space at Regus House, Windmill Hill Business Park, Swindon from 2007 till June 2010. We moved out of the premises in March itself , but agreed to pay the rental till June 2010 – in order to honour the contract T&C’s .
    Now they have sent us an extra bill for £477 for “Business Continuity Service” from July 2010 – September 2010. We never asked Regus to give us this “Business Continuity Service” but they say it is as per the T&C ?
    I feel that it is unfair for REGUS to charge for an extra service beyond June 2010( contract termination date) when we do not want it.
    Any help in throwing light onto what I can do will be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Darren Carter 20 July, 10:34 am

      Manish

      Can I ask how you got on with your issue with Regus, We are currently going through a similar situation with Regus

      Reply
      • John 13 January, 3:03 pm

        Hi, I have the same problem with Regus, they hit me with a £800 invoice for “business continuity” when I left them in 2010, and now with late fees they are after over £2000 and have asked a debt collection legal team to come me after me for the cash.

        Every other cost I incurred is stated in the contract but this one is not so how can they possibly charge me for it??

        Any thoughts or suggestions welcome.
        Also this is interesting:
        http://www.regusclassactionsuit.com/regus-scam/

  • Joe 12 June, 7:52 pm

    Automatic renewal clause: What is “reasonable opportunity to cancel”? If a company violates that principle, what powers do consumers have to a refund?

    I had no idea this ‘renewal’ clause was hidden in a subscription to a wholesalers directory company. I was surprised to see £30 suddenly disappear from my account and it influences my ability to see off my overdraft. On the sign up page I selected: 6 months subscription @ £30 = 5/per month. Makes you think it is a one-off deal ending after 6 months. They also said that I accessed my account since the renewal – perhaps I did or perhaps I didn’t – but if so I would have only been trying, in a panic, to find out how to cancel my subscription and prevent further charges being made.

    Reply
  • James 19 July, 5:17 pm

    Hi there,

    I am 6 months in to a 24 month mobile phone contract with Three. I need to move back to Australia and was wondering if there was any way that this could be used to evade ridiculous cancellation charges?

    I know that I signed a contract and that I should honour it, but there must be something about moving overseas that could apply?

    Any help would be great.

    Many thanks.

    James

    Reply
    • Jean-Christophe 28 June, 1:44 pm

      Did you get an answer? I am in a similar situation. I know that in France it is mandatory to include a clause enabling termination in the event of the consumer moving abroad, but could not find anything in the UK.

      Reply
  • Superjanet4 6 August, 1:40 pm

    I opened a bank account some which, in return for a monthly fee, I got a number of ‘free’ services. One of these was mobile phone insurance. Some months later I dropped the phone into the bath. I took it to the shop I bought it from who sent it for repair. After a few days they got in touch and said they wouldn’t repair it under warranty. At that point that I remembered that I had insurance and made a claim. The claim was rejected on the basis that I had not registered it within 48 hours of the damage occurring! I wrote rebutting the decision on the basis that the term: did not feature in the ‘key points summary’ and to report within 48 hours was unnecessary when the phone was in my possession and no losses could arise from fraudulent calls. I was then asked to send the phone for repair free of charge. Should I still make a complaint to Trading Standards or similar?

    Reply
  • Sara 17 September, 10:35 pm

    I have a 2 yr contract with Vodafone, which began a few months ago, the phone being a Samsung M1. Within weeks, it became faulty to the point of unusable. I had it sent away to be fixed, which took 5 weeks, bearing in mind I was still paying £35/month. After being ‘fixed’ it is progressively getting worse again. All I am being offered is for it to be sent away again. Looking at reviews on this phone, it is clearly a manufacturer error on this model, and I believe it to be unfixable. Am I entitled to cancel my contract due to unfair terms and the fact the phone is not ‘as described’? It is so frustrating to pay so much money for a phone I can’t use!

    Reply
  • sean brennan 9 November, 8:11 pm

    insurance company will not pay out claim for an accident that was not even my fault

    Reply
  • chloe 6 February, 12:16 pm

    ive taken out car insurance policy over the web with a company called quotemart. I sold my car that the policy was covering 6 months into the 12 month agreement. They asked for a £75 cancellation fee and for a percentage of the total premium which totals at £439 which is more then the amount still payable under the policy for the remaining 6 months left. Surely this ridiculous amount isnt legal to charge me as it is such a high amount and can be seen as nothing else but a penalty for cancelling. I am hoping it would fall under the unfair contract terms and “the requirement for the consumer to pay cancellation charges which are disproportionally high.” I then asked how much it would cost to cover my new car and they said £127 which is more then double of a quote with another company that i have found. This is an unfair price and i would never agree to the terms and conditions if i had been offered this contract in the first place at this price (for the new car.) Surely i am therfore within my rights to cancel the policy and not pay a penny to this greedy company? please help

    Reply
  • superjanet4 8 February, 4:45 pm

    Chloe

    I would say that this is prima facie a penalty clause (which are not allowed) as well as being an unfair contract term. If it was me I would write to them saying that you will pay the termination charge only, include a cheque, and say this is in full settlement of early termination of the policy (if they bank it they are accepting the situation). Dont forget to cancel any Standing Order or Direct Debit with immediate effect.

    Do some research first – find out whether quotesmart is a subsidiary or trading name of a bigger organisation. If it is go to the main company website and look for one of the non-exec directors on the main board and send the letter to him/her. [Non-execs have special responsibilities for good corporate governance.] You could also mention that, depending on their reply to you, you may take the matter further with the Financial Ombudsman.

    Good luck

    Reply
  • laura178 20 March, 10:22 pm

    Hi, I signed one year contract with the gym E3 (owned by Harlands) in Burton on Trent. The gym went into administration last week so I cancelled my direct debit. My suprise was when I received a letter from Harlands saying:’The terms of your Membership Agreement mean that you have to repay all your instalments by Direct Debit. Therefore, you must call the Harlands helpline immediately to reinstate your Direct Debit over the telephone. If you do not call us by 3rd April 11 you will be charged an administration fee by us and may risk losing the option of repaying the balance of…by instalments….’Do they have right asking me for paying the membership fees 10 more months even the gym doesn’t exist?

    I choosed the gym because of the location which is the only convenient to me. I know that there is no another gym owned by Harlands on this place.

    I think they should not have a right to charge money without providing any services. Please could you advise what to do? Thank you in advance

    Reply
  • stuart 17 May, 12:54 pm

    Hi, i took out kit and contents insurance with forces financial.
    I then got based abroad for 6 months. upon returning home, i phoned up to cancel the insurance and was told that there would be a £47 cancellation fee. The insurance was due to expire in Jan 11, but they automatically carried it on because i hadn’t phoned up to cancel it.

    My argument is that due to me being based abroad, i did not receive the letters stating that they would be keeping the insurance going. I actually only wanted it for a year, but due to me not reading all of the small print, i didn’t see that they automatically keep the insurance going unless they hear from the client. Also, due to the fact that i was in the Falklands, i still wouldn’t have been able to phone them anyway. it costs a small fortune to make calls from over there.

    any advise on this would be much appreciated. many thanks

    Reply
  • fola 1 June, 2:30 pm

    i went to a bridal shop for a wedding dress on friday 26th of may, i paid 300 pounds for deposit and was surpose to go back with the balance of 175 pounds and then pick it but during the weekend my sister who is in the states bought me a wedding dress as a surprise so i had to call the bridal shop for a cancelation and refund on the 1st of june but i was told that i could not get a refund and that the only option for me is to come and balance up and pick the dress,what do i do?

    Reply
    • Chris 4 June, 12:10 pm

      My partner has just tried to claim for a lost mobile phone on a Halifax Ultimate Reward Account policy, and has been advised that because the phone was left unattended in a public place (she left her handbag on the train) the claim is being rejected.

      How is it possible to simultaneously insure for loss of a phone, whilst saying it cannot be left unattended in a public place? I can’t think of any circumstances in which you could lose a phone without it being left in a public place!

      Where does this sort of thing fit with unfair contract terms?

      Reply
  • charmaine 8 September, 2:33 pm

    I April 2011 I purchase a used toyota rav 4 from a toyota dealer. I do a part exchange along with a loan to finance the car, two days after picking up the car I realise that the engine management light came on, I phone up the company and told then about the problem,they ask me to bring the car in, which they did fix. A couple days after that I notice that the radio is not working, I was offer a face-off radio instead, which I decline, I ask if I could get a built in second hand radio instead but they refuse in replacing the radio.

    Two months after that I realise that the central locking is not working, I rang the company up to complain about another problem, I went into the branch and was told that I have to pay to get it recoded because the key coding doesn’t falls under the warrantee.

    Where do I go from here? because it seems to me that the car is falling apart little by little. I paid over £6000.00 for it, it’s a 02 plate. I wrote several letters to the company included the finance company and they all saying that it’s their finally decission not to fix the car. It’s quite obivious that the car had those existing problems pirior to I buying it. I choose to buy a use car from a reputable dealer but wrong I was. Can I take then to court or hand in back in car ?

    Reply
  • Tracey 18 September, 2:50 pm

    Hi,I need some help! I got sent a dongle in the post by Virgin Media last year, I didnt ask for it or discuss it or sign up for it or request it in any way, it just arrived in the post. We called Virgin media when we got it to cancel it only to be told we couldnt until expiry of the 3 month free trial period was over, so obviously we couldnt do anything further. We have subsequently realised we are being billed for this and have again tried to cancel it only to be told we cant because we are out of the expiry period so will be billed for the duration of the contract which turns out to be 18 months. I have never signed any agreement or received any agreement by post. I cant stop the DD as it seems they used my DD details from my media package to set this thing up automatically and as its obviously a continual authority so I cant much about it. I have never used it, dont have a need for it as I dont have a laptop which I told them at day dot, which they can see is true, but they deny any phonecalls from us to cancel it (how convenient from a call provider!!)the call was made to them on my landline of which they unfortunately are the provider,have subsequently advised the cancellation period is 14 days not 3 months and told us tough. They refuse to let us make a complaint, we have tried twice. Yes I should have pursued it earlier, however I think this is an abhorrent & disgusting way to trap consumers into a contract they cant get out of. Please any advice would be of help to me
    Tracey

    Reply
  • Kathryn Bennett 3 October, 12:05 pm

    Our company signed up to a 1 year contract with Regus offices in Bracknell to which over the past 6 months we have had items added to our invoices that we haven’t ordered. Post not arrived, packages sat in the store room and not delivered, incorrect invoices and billing that we haven’t had so finally after months we decided to cancel, but Regus won’t let us terminate. They say even though they haven’t performed or we have had problems that we still have to stay for the remainder of the contract! Someone please help? Their T’s and C’s say that they can terminate giving us 2 months notice but we can’t terminate with them…..

    Reply
  • Nitasha 10 October, 2:03 pm

    Hi,

    I am currently studying in a UK university and i signed a contract for the Uni Halls to live in.

    On coming here i saw that the halls provided for us where far away from the Uni. At-least a 20mins walk uphill.

    I requested for a change within the first week of shifting to a closer accommodation but they now say its full the other homes for Postgraduate students are equally far.

    I requested to be released from the contract as i was suffer legs and back pains due to the walking but they said i would have to pay the entire acc fees if i break the contract.

    This is unfair. I have requested them constantly for a change and they have not provided this i would like to move into private now which is close to my Uni.

    Is there something i can say or do to get out of the contract. i have paid a deposit of 200 GBP already.

    Please let me know asap.

    regards,

    Reply
  • Jose Moreno 8 November, 4:54 pm

    hi,
    I have recently join a gym Fitspace, and it seem the contract was 18 months, after join I had to leave so I did email the Fitspace I was leaving and may be , but later on I did received a letter from Harlands I have to pay cancellation charges and the rest of the contract.
    I was quite sure I did signed any contract with Harlands, after returning now I have a letter from Deth Recovery Agency I own over £300 to Harlands..
    There is no way I will pay for this when they are not providing me with any services at all.

    Jose Moreno

    Reply
  • googleyes 11 November, 10:38 am

    hi i have recently bought a phone with 02 the contract stated that if i “toped up” £10 then i would get unlimeted texting the next month i tried this and it turns out you only get 500 free texts and since i did not know this at the time i went over the limet i was wondering if there was any thing i could do

    Reply
  • AB 14 December, 8:02 am

    I recently was talked into (over the phone after applying for a job) an online training course that is delivered in sections for 80 pounds a month via their website. After it sinking in, i decided i cannot afford it and wanted to cancel. They told me that i have past the 7 day cooling period and the balance should be paid in full. Apparently the contract says I’ve signed up for 12 months + one months notice period. Does this mean I’m liable to pay 80×12= 960 pounds for a service i do not wish to receive? Should i let the payment for January proceed then cancel the direct debit?

    Reply
  • John 13 January, 3:01 pm

    Hi, I have the same problem with Regus, they hit me with a £800 invoice for “business continuity” when I left them in 2010, and now with late fees they are after over £2000 and have asked a debt collection legal team to come me after me for the cash.

    Every other cost I incurred is stated in the contract but this one is not so how can they possibly charge me for it??

    Any thoughts or suggestions welcome.
    Also this is interesting:
    http://www.regusclassactionsuit.com/regus-scam/

    Reply
  • Mohammed 17 January, 9:24 am

    Hi,

    I made a claim with lifestyle group via Barclays bank insurance, they refused the claim on the basis it wasn’t reported to them within 48hours. They say it’s in there t&c’s. What difference does it make when I report it to them? I under stand I must report it to the network and police so the handset can be barred which was done. But to register a claim why would this need to be registered in 48hours with the insurance company.

    Can anyone advise me on what to do?

    Reply
  • Neil 20 January, 2:03 pm

    Hi Mohammed

    I had the same issue with LSG in December 2009.

    You will need to check that the address below and comments in the letter are still consistent with the document you hold – the wording in the policy might have changed in the last couple of years.

    I did a lot of research and pulled together the following letter which I sent to their Appeals Department; PO Box 395, Crewe CW1 6WT.

    …………………….

    “I refer to your letter dated 23rd December declining to deal with my claim for accidental damage to my mobile phone on the grounds that I did not register a claim within 48 hours of the incident.

    I am writing to appeal this decision on the following grounds:

    Your requirement to make a report of accidental damage within 48 hours is unreasonable and is almost certainly in breach of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999; and therefore not legally binding; for the following reasons:

    a) You seem to be presenting the 48 hour requirement to be a core term of the contract between us. However, it is not identified as such in the ‘Key Facts’ summary of the policy under. Under the section on Claims, clauses 1 and 2 specifically state that I MUST take the stated actions within 24 hours of loss or theft. Clause 3 DOES NOT impose the same clear instruction that a claim MUST be registered within 48 hours of discovering an incident.

    b) The term itself is almost certainly an unfair exclusion clause under the provisions of the Regulations;

    c) The contract term tries to impose unreasonable and unnecessary urgency on me to make a claim. This artificial urgency, prima facie, seems to be deliberately intended to put barriers in place to prevent me from making a successful claim against the policy. By comparison, it is reasonable for the policy to require me to have reported loss or theft of the phone to the police and my airtime provider within 24 hours as this would have had the effect of minimising financial loss incurred by any unauthorised use of the phone. However, I did not lose the phone nor was it stolen and therefore the urgency of these actions did not apply; and

    d) This contract term has created a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights under the contract, to my detriment, contrary to the requirements of good faith.

    As a result I believe my claim is reasonable, legal and valid and should be dealt with accordingly.

    I note that I have access to the FSCS as well as the Financial Ombudsman Service (and the Office of Fair Trading and other consumer protection bodies). However, I will wait for your response to this appeal before considering any further action.

    I look forward to your early reply.

    Yours faithfully”

    …………………………….

    I’ve saved the good new to the end. I didn’t get a reply to the letter itself, but I did get the necessary intrsuctions and form to complete and send off with the phone to their repair centre. The phone was repaired free-of-charge under the policy.

    The letter may not have been the best constructed legal argument, but it was good enough. I wish you luck. Keep battling and don’t let the bar stewards get you down.

    Reply
  • Mohammed 23 January, 7:08 pm

    Thanks i will try that. let you know the outcome

    Reply
  • Mohammed 24 January, 9:43 pm

    After emailing the appeals department last night with a adjusted copy of your letter I got a phone call this morning at 11am to say my appeal had be accepted! What a turn around.

    Thanks you very much for you help!

    :-)

    Reply
  • Jason 25 January, 2:15 am

    We’ve paid a £1000 deposit using credit & debit cards (appx £500 ea) to secure a used horse trailer from a main dealer.

    Prior to the deposit being paid we agreed a number of faults would be repaired or rectified, and we would purchase a couple of extras.

    Subsequent to the deposit being paid (and hence the contract made between us) the manager has over-ruled his sales staff and we’ve been informed that some of those repairs will be at our expense.

    I understand we could walk away and get a full refund, however we would still like to go ahead with the purchase with the faults rectified as originally agreed. Where do we stand?

    The dealer also stated that should we come to collect the trailer it will be on a ‘sold-as-seen basis’ and should we decide that the trailer isn’t up to standard and walk away he will keep £250 of our deposit. Is this legal?

    Could the dealer simply refuse to honour our contract and refund us or can we insist the work is carried out and sold to us as agreed?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  • craig savage 24 February, 6:39 pm

    i bought a phone on contract (3 mobile) i gave it to somebody(friend) for xmas gift, after insuring it (H3G , 3 mobile) they took over the payments until the bank details were transfered. the phone got stolen. the insurance was 1 payment behind and was direct debited ,returned.
    the police were informed and 3 mobile refused to comment, only saying that the bank had cancelled the direct debit payments.the bank that was paying had swapped “exchanges” in voice, untowards transfering the details between my bank and another bank(not the gift recipient) but one of my other accounts, due to lack of funds and unwise handling plus poor management “money” skills. the banks both wavered the claim as unpaid though the real responsibility lay with 3 mobile. closed the account (insurance) just as the phone went “missing”, the phone remained uninsured but i cancelled the agreement(suspended contract)/(use of the account) because it was deemed as stolen(by the gift recipient. the contradiction of who pays the remainder of the contract?as am unsure ,why insurers can stop policies when 1 payment has been missed.

    Reply
  • Rob Harding 13 March, 3:17 pm

    last year my fiance ordered her wedding dress with Berketex. Having paid a deposit she signed a contract that stated ‘full amount to be paid by December 30th 2011′. We have not been able to. However prior to doing so she spoke with the woman present (whom we have a name for) and asked about cancellations (just in case) and was told that all that would happen is we would not get our deposit back. The contract makes no mention of cancellation fees in anyway and simply states our deposit will not be refundable.

    Due to circumstance we have had to cancel this dress. However by the end of January they hadn’t contacted us and it seemed like a closed case. On the slim off chance I’d thought I’d enquire as to whether there was a chance of any of the refund coming back due to mitigating circumstance.

    We have now been told we need to pay in full and purchase the dress or else pay a cancellation fee. Since we signed nothing regarding a cancellation fee do we have to pay it. I’m aware that its not a question of us taking their services but a question of the contract. Since it doesn’t mention fees are they in fact doing us a favour by offering a cancellation fee that is far less than the remainder price? Or since there is no mention of having to pay in full and since we were mis-sold the contract (never would have signed if the terms were properly explained and this issue is not present on the contract) then can we simply not pay. Nowhere were we told the remainder needed to be paid even if we wished to cancel our contract.

    Reply
  • Lorraine 1 April, 5:22 pm

    My boyfriend started work at a gym, Fitness First. I joined as they offered me (being the PT’S Girlfriend) a student membership at £20 a month with no ties, He told me I could cancel at any time. As this sounded an amazing deal, I signed without really looking at the small print. 3-4 months later my Boyfriend stopped work there and so I decided to quit this one, however their head office have said I am tied into a 12 months contract. I explained I was actually (on the side) given a deal, Student membership, and I am not even a student. Now I have letters threathening me to pay £200 or so, thats not even anywhere near what I would owe even for the months I haven’t been there.

    Is there any way I can get around this? First of all I am not even a student, surely that just proves that they mis-sold me the memberhsip anyway??

    Please Help

    Many Thanks

    Reply
  • unhappy bride 28 May, 5:33 pm

    I have a rather large issue with an events venue that I had booked for my wedding last year. We booked in sept 2010 and cancelled June 2011 as my partner was advised he may be made redundant. We couldn’t risk continueing with the wedding plans until we knew what was happening. We emailed to notify the company of our situation, who then demanded 50% of what they estimated we would spend which according to them is almost £4000 as we hadn’t provided 12 months notice!!!
    We paid a £500 deposit initially and were advised at the time they would not need to contact us again until 3-6 months before the wedding date for a further payment and at that point they would start to discuss what options we would like.
    I hae been in contact with Traqding standards who in turn have liased with OFT and having looked at the contract they say the contrat is unfair in their professional opinion.
    Trading standards are doing all they can but as it’s not something that affects a large porportion of the public as wqas the gym membership case. They can only try and liaise between the 2 of us in the hope that the hotel will drop the case.
    What I’m worried about is if the hotel does take it as far as court, I haven’t been able to find a lawyer who has dealt with these kind of cases…do I therefore go to court on my own?
    Does anyone have any advice on what I can try to get them to see they are in the wrong?

    I’m losing sleep over this….
    Please help
    Thanks

    Reply
  • unhappy bride 28 May, 5:42 pm

    Sorry I should mention, I did provide 9 months cancellation notice and even though personal bookings are supposed to give 12 months notice, for organisations booking corporate events they only need to provide 3 months notice, how is this fair? The £4000 just seems so disproportionately high including canapes, drinks, 3 course meal and then an evening buffet…when we hadn’t even disused if we wanted all those options plus they are charging for 12 hotel rooms that weren’t booked. they are also calculating it based on 150 people when they’re minimum numbers are 80. When we booked the sales assistant asked how many guests would be there and we didn’t know exactly so she said she would put a figure of 150 as a guide but don’t worry as we don’t need to confirm exact numbers until 2 weeks before…..and now they are basing costs on 150 people. They won’t have had to order any food costs or any staffing costs with 9 months to go so i feel they are being totally unfair :(

    Reply
  • Fiona 25 June, 4:32 pm

    Hi,

    In February we booked a wedding venue, paying 50% of the total hire charge as required for the Booking Fee (50% = £900). After finding out that both my partners job and mine are at risk we have decided not to go ahead with a wedding this year and have put plans on hold indefinitely.

    We called in April to explain our situation and were told that, as per the terms and conditions, that “in the event of cancellation of a confirmed booking – loss of booking fee”. We asked if he would consider a partial refund but he said the only way we would get a refund is if someone else took the day.

    However, after a bit of thought and reading up on the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations would we have a case to reclaim some of our money back. Reading the Guidance on Group 5 Financial Penalties, to withold £900 of our money does not seem a fair representation of costs incurred for an event that will not happen. We hadn’t actually started planning anything and as such haven’t taken up any of their time or effort.

    I would appreciate your advice before I consider taking this further. We could really do with not losing this money given our situation but probably couldn’t afford a legal bill to recoup some or all of the costs…

    Reply
  • steve 13 August, 12:31 am

    I recently made a booking at a hotel. Upon arrival I found the hotel to be filthy, smelly and noisy. I refused to stay but keeping to his threat the manager has charged me the full price for two nights. I have argued the point that he has willingly taken my money but in return has offered me substandard goods and services. He has outright refused my requests for a refund and is now just threatening me with courts and expensive lawyers. I am at my wits end. I just want to get a refund and put this matter to bed, it is more money than I can afford to to lose. Any advice would be most welcome. Thank you. Incidentally it is the Nanford Guest House in Oxford.

    Reply
  • Jones 9 December, 5:50 pm

    Hi Nevander
    I read the message that you posted three years ago (ish !!) with keen interest. I am currently in a dispute with peugeot. they are requesting the return of the car and the remaining money for the cost of the car £5,000 as I was 10 days late returning it. I am disgusted. They have already had nearly £8,000 from me.
    How did you resolve your issue with Peugeot (mpsa finance?) in 2009? Many thanks, :-)))

    Reply
  • Victoria Taylor 5 February, 1:06 pm

    Virgin media set me up with tivo broadbamd and phone
    *my home phone was connected to another home it.took them three monthsto give me a new line i changed jobs six weeks a go u work two wees in hand then wAit 4 weeks to be paid S as i started on the vut off day i notified them i wouldnt be paid for 6 weeks and still they disconected me now i have had ebough my tivo box crashesi asked to leave they are demanding £150 to cancel my contract im really angry what do i say or do i cant afford £150

    Reply
  • Harry Passley 21 March, 3:48 pm

    I cancelled my Sky subscription in March 2012, giving them the 31 days notice. Sure enough 31 days later, my subscription was cancelled. In June 2012 I received a free offer from Sky of all the services I previously had, for six months. During this six month period I cancelled the direct debit I had with them, as we had a dispute over whether I would have to take Sky subscription for a further year after the special offer ended, which I had told them from the start I was not prepared to do, as my reason for cancelling it in the first place was that I could no longer afford it. In November 2012 I contacted Sky giving them the 31 days notice of my intention to cancel after my special offer ended. They informed me there was a charge of £1.58. They said it was an admin charge and I paid it by debit card. At the end of December, my Sky was still on, I contacted them and they told me that because I had cancelled my direct debit I would have to give them another 31 days notice and pay them for the period of Dec to Jan 2013. I told them that this was not stated when I cancelled it in November and that I would not pay it as it was poor customer service and they deliberately misled me. I have ignored all demands for payment and received a letter from them last week stating I had to pay them for 3 months subscription or I would be referred to a debt collection agency. Do I have a case?

    Reply
  • Chris Hannaford 20 May, 3:23 pm

    Hi,

    I recently booked a hotel with a well known online holiday company as part of the £1 deposit offer. The booking is for Dec 2013 and my circumstances have changed and I need to cancel the booking. They now tell me there is a 20% cancellation charge (£500)even though I am cancelling 8 months in advance. When I booked I looked for any hidden charges and could not see any. I feel that I have been conned into thinking that the only charge was the £1 deposit. I have cancelled the Credit Card so they can not take the cancellation fee. How far do you think they will take this and do I have any rights?

    Reply
  • Taylor 10 June, 7:04 pm

    Hi
    I signed up to a iPhone 5 contract with T-mobile December 2012.
    I paid for the phone cost £250 and monthly contract cost of £26 a month for 24 months.
    I received a letter about price increases due to inflation of 3.3%
    The terms & conditions i agreed to, it never stated T-Mobile was free to increase prices.
    They have only just introduced fixed monthly plans – which is around £0.50-3.00 increase monthly if you wish to do this.
    Surely this is unfair contract terms? How can they just increase prices on current accounts!?

    Reply
  • luca 31 August, 7:52 pm

    Hi
    Wander if you can help me
    I went to a three mobile shop to get a Samsung galaxy note two on a contract for 26 pounds, during the process of creating the contract the sales clerk ask me “would you like an iPad mini for only three pounds more a month?” I have asked him if the charge of the total contract would be 29 pounds for both and he advised would have been, In perfect good faith I have signed the contracts given to me just to realise that they are going to charge me 26+29 pounds and created two direct debit on my bank account, I have spoken to their customer service which has advised to go to the store where an extremely unhelpful manager told me that I have misinterpreted the words and since I have signed the contract, They cannot accept a return, this has happen two days ago, now I am stuck, could you please advise if there is anything I can do?
    Thanks in advance
    Luca

    Reply
  • Sharon 21 September, 10:28 am

    Hi

    I thought one of my bills from my internet and telephone provider was a bit high and so I checked it with one of their support team. I then realised that I have been overcharged for my fixed charges since the my contract began, which was in June 2011. I thought the charges were plus VAT when they were including VAT. I checked through some of the telephone charges as well and in one of the months I had been overcharged for telephone calls. (When I added up all the calls made that month I was overcharged by about one third).

    I wrote to them pointing this out and asked for a refund. They told me that their terms and conditions state that I have to advise them within 14 days after the bill is issued if there is a problem and if I don’t there is nothing they will do. I pay my account by direct debit and their bills are not set out in such a way that the overcharge was obvious.

    Is there anything I can do to get a refund or is the money lost?

    Reply
  • SUE COOKE 18 November, 12:16 pm

    if a contract has been brought in house how long before you can sorce it out again??

    Reply
  • Robert Trigg 20 March, 11:34 am

    I have a ‘phone contract with Advantage Telecom started in Sept 2010. The contract terms are for 5 years. I wish to have the benfit of a complete Broadband pckage with my ISP, AOL. Advantage Telecom’s conract terms for cessation are £395 + VAT. This seems excessive. I have two lines “registered”, one for Anserphone and broadband, the other for business/domestic use. Comments, please

    Reply