Consumer law requires that you have all of the information you need before you agree to a contract. This includes:
- details of what you are buying
- how much it costs and how to pay
- any additional charges and fees
- when changes can be made to the contract
The information must be presented so that you understand what you’re signing up to. This means:
- it is written in plain and understandable language
- the terms are clearly presented and are not hidden in the small print
- new or complex terms are brought to your attention
- terms that cover costs are clearly explained, for example, cancellation charges
When you agree a contract, you are bound by its terms and conditions. Always make sure you read the terms and conditions. It’s useful to know:
- how you can cancel your contract – for example, you may want to switch provider
- the length of your contract and what happens next – for example, at the end of one year does your contract automatically roll over for another year
Consumer law requires that the terms and conditions used by a business in a contract are fair. This means that they do not give a business an unfair advantage over you. Consumer law lists contract terms that are always unfair (the black list) and those which may be unfair (the grey list). Only a Court can declare if a term is unfair. Read the full list of unfair terms.
Some terms cannot be assessed for unfairness, these include:
- core terms – for example, the main subject matter or purchase price
- terms you negotiated with the business
- terms that are a legal requirement
If you feel that a term in a contract is unfair, you should contact the business and ask them to address your concerns.
You should also report your issue to us or by calling our helpline on 01 402 5555. Although we cannot contact a business on your individual case, your information will help inform our work.