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Consumer Protection From The Budget

Introduction

As expected, the Chancellor confirmed in the Budget yesterday that consumer ‘subscription traps’ will be targeted by a government crackdown on markets that are not working fairly. Such traps often lock consumers into making regular payments for services after a free trial period due to unclear terms and conditions.

The government is to put forward a green paper on protecting consumers which, Mr Hammond said would “tackle some of the frustrations that sometimes make it feel that the dice are loaded against ordinary working people going about their everyday lives”.

A report from Citizens Advice last year found as many as 2 million people had difficulties cancelling continuous payments. More often than not, such experiences occur during online purchases.

Comment

Whilst the measures will be welcomed by most, once again, the importance of reading terms and conditions is emphasised here. The small print is often what ‘catches out’ the consumer. I would like to see more measures introduced to ensure that terms and conditions are both readable (not ‘War and Peace’) and understandable (not legal gobbledegook) for the ordinary consumer.

This should not be relied upon for legal advice. If you would like any further information or advice please email richard@clariclegal.co.uk.

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