Well, I would if the small print wasn’t ridiculously small!

I have accepted that I am at the age when I need reading glasses and I’m quite happy with this (honestly!). Most of the time whilst I’m sat at my desk looking at my computer screen or at printed documents, my glasses work just fine. But today they don’t … and the reason for this is that I have been asked to review and comment on a document written in SIZE 5 font!

What’s hiding in the small print?

OK, so I can use the functions on my computer to make the text bigger, but why should I? If I my client is expected to enter into a legally binding agreement on the basis of the terms and conditions provided, then they should be easily accessible and readable. And since it is not, I am immediately suspicious and put my detective skills to the test. What contractual ‘nasties’ are being hidden in this miniscule text and what sort of company would think it reasonable to present something like this? So rather than reviewing the terms and conditions, I have been busying myself researching the background on this company to check whether they a worthy supplier to my client – and I’ve found some very interesting things out!

What can businesses learn from the Consumer Rights Act?

The new Consumer Rights Act 2015 acknowledges the problem of small print and required terms to be expressed in plain and intelligible language and (in case of a written term) is legible – so that an everyday consumer can read it without the need for an extra strength magnifying glass. A term must be transparent and prominent and if in “small print” it is unlikely a court will determine this is the case.

For business to business contracts, the Consumer Rights Act naturally doesn’t apply. However, if one wishes to be viewed and a reasonable and ‘fair’ supplier and, importantly, a company who is good to do business with, then I would suggest it would be wise to present your terms in a legible way and in reasonable size font – you’ll be demonstrating to your potential clients you’ve got nothing to hide and hopefully making the contracting process a positive experience for everyone.

At Devant, we pride ourselves in writing clear, well-structured, simple and easy to understand contracts which, importantly, are in a sensible size font! If you think transparency in business contracts is important to building positive business relationships, talk to us about reviewing your existing terms and conditions.

Marion Blackmore
Client Services Director and Principal Consultant