Legal Updates

Consumer Entertainment Contracts: Unfair Terms

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has issued new guidance on the interpretation of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 ("Regulations"), aimed at consumer entertainment contracts. The guidance is deemed applicable to consumer contracts in other areas.

The Regulations govern contracts between sellers or suppliers and consumers of their goods or services. It lays down a non-exhaustive list of terms, which may be regarded as unfair, and provides certain criteria for assessment of the unfairness of other contractual terms.

The guidance deals specifically with potential unfairness in such contracts used in relation to tickets for entertainment, hiring performers and leisure activities. It does not make direct amendments to the Regulations, but highlights some examples of clauses which the OFT regard as potentially unfair under the Regulations. The two main clauses that have been highlighted by the OFT guidance are:

   1. Clauses refusing the consumer a right of admission, without specifying grounds upon which admission is being refused.
   2. Internet site clauses requiring the consumer to confirm that they have read and understood the terms and conditions of a site - such a clause should provide consumers with express warning to read the terms and conditions and to revert to the supplier with any queries.

According to the OFT, suppliers generally should amend or remove terms which may fall foul of the guidance and be in breach of the Regulations in relation to both consumer entertainment contracts and other consumer contracts.

Email: Dr Rosanna Cooper

© RT COOPERS, 2004. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.




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