The importance of your website terms and conditions

The following is published with permission from ContractStore. The original article can be found at Beware the Small Print on Your Website!

When Colin Cochrane showed his girl friend’s five year old son how his online spread betting account worked, he was in for a nasty surprise.

The child had a go at the system while he was away and he got home to find the account £50,000 in the red!

So he contacted the company, Spreadex, only to be told that as far as they were concerned, he was liable for the debt as one of the clauses in the contract said ‘you will be deemed to have authorised all trading under your account number’.

When he failed to pay, Spreadex sued Mr Cochrane.  But the judge threw out their claim. Among other things he ruled that there was no binding contract as there was no commitment on the part of Spreadex and, even if there had been a contract, it was unfair and so unenforceable under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

In his judgement the judge commented on the complicated (49 page) and one sided nature of the contract.

For more information on this case see the article by Mark Lewis of IBB Solicitors, a leading member of Connect2Law.

So if you have Ts& Cs on your website, keep them short, fair and easy to understand