Ofcom has started an investigation into BT subsidiaries EE and Plusnet about their contract terms. This is to check they give customers clear and simple contract information before they sign up to a new deal.
As I’ve said before, nobody (except lawyers) reads the T&Cs anyway, especially not consumers. If the average person bothered to read the T&Cs, there are a lot of concepts to get to grips with. Even if those concepts are in plain English rather than legalese, the sheer length of the terms will likely put you off reading them.
That’s exactly why this matters. Telecoms providers must give customers contract information in a “clear and comprehensible manner”. This means giving a short summary, usually 1-page, of the main contract terms before they sign up. The summary should cover the key commercial drivers of the contract. For example, price and, in particular at the moment, any price increases. Also, the duration of the contract and what happens if the customer wants to end the contract early. This is so customers know what they’re paying for. It should also make it easy for them to compare deals and switch provider if they wish.
We await the outcome. In the meantime, if you want a lawyer to read (or write) terms and conditions to ensure they’re clear and comprehensible, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 20 7611 2338.
This post first appeared on the Teacher Stern website.