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The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999

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Regulation 3

SCHEDULE 1QUALIFYING BODIES

PART ONE

1.  The Data Protection Registrar.

2.  The Director General of Electricity Supply.

3.  The Director General of Gas Supply.

4.  The Director General of Electricity Supply for Northern Ireland.

5.  The Director General of Gas for Northern Ireland.

6.  The Director General of Telecommunications.

7.  The Director General of Water Services.

8.  The Rail Regulator.

9.  Every weights and measures authority in Great Britain.

10.  The Department of Economic Development in Northern Ireland.

PART TWO

11.  Consumers' Association.

Regulation 5(5)

SCHEDULE 2INDICATIVE AND NON-EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF TERMS WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS UNFAIR

1.  Terms which have the object or effect of–

(a)excluding or limiting the legal liability of a seller or supplier in the event of the death of a consumer or personal injury to the latter resulting from an act or omission of that seller or supplier;

(b)inappropriately excluding or limiting the legal rights of the consumer vis-à-vis the seller or supplier or another party in the event of total or partial non-performance or inadequate performance by the seller or supplier of any of the contractual obligations, including the option of offsetting a debt owed to the seller or supplier against any claim which the consumer may have against him;

(c)making an agreement binding on the consumer whereas provision of services by the seller or supplier is subject to a condition whose realisation depends on his own will alone;

(d)permitting the seller or supplier to retain sums paid by the consumer where the latter decides not to conclude or perform the contract, without providing for the consumer to receive compensation of an equivalent amount from the seller or supplier where the latter is the party cancelling the contract;

(e)requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation;

(f)authorising the seller or supplier to dissolve the contract on a discretionary basis where the same facility is not granted to the consumer, or permitting the seller or supplier to retain the sums paid for services not yet supplied by him where it is the seller or supplier himself who dissolves the contract;

(g)enabling the seller or supplier to terminate a contract of indeterminate duration without reasonable notice except where there are serious grounds for doing so;

(h)automatically extending a contract of fixed duration where the consumer does not indicate otherwise, when the deadline fixed for the consumer to express his desire not to extend the contract is unreasonably early;

(i)irrevocably binding the consumer to terms with which he had no real opportunity of becoming acquainted before the conclusion of the contract;

(j)enabling the seller or supplier to alter the terms of the contract unilaterally without a valid reason which is specified in the contract;

(k)enabling the seller or supplier to alter unilaterally without a valid reason any characteristics of the product or service to be provided;

(l)providing for the price of goods to be determined at the time of delivery or allowing a seller of goods or supplier of services to increase their price without in both cases giving the consumer the corresponding right to cancel the contract if the final price is too high in relation to the price agreed when the contract was concluded;

(m)giving the seller or supplier the right to determine whether the goods or services supplied are in conformity with the contract, or giving him the exclusive right to interpret any term of the contract;

(n)limiting the seller’s or supplier’s obligation to respect commitments undertaken by his agents or making his commitments subject to compliance with a particular formality;

(o)obliging the consumer to fulfil all his obligations where the seller or supplier does not perform his;

(p)giving the seller or supplier the possibility of transferring his rights and obligations under the contract, where this may serve to reduce the guarantees for the consumer, without the latter’s agreement;

(q)excluding or hindering the consumer’s right to take legal action or exercise any other legal remedy, particularly by requiring the consumer to take disputes exclusively to arbitration not covered by legal provisions, unduly restricting the evidence available to him or imposing on him a burden of proof which, according to the applicable law, should lie with another party to the contract.

2.  Scope of paragraphs 1(g), (j) and (l)

(a)Paragraph 1(g) is without hindrance to terms by which a supplier of financial services reserves the right to terminate unilaterally a contract of indeterminate duration without notice where there is a valid reason, provided that the supplier is required to inform the other contracting party or parties thereof immediately.

(b)Paragraph 1(j) is without hindrance to terms under which a supplier of financial services reserves the right to alter the rate of interest payable by the consumer or due to the latter, or the amount of other charges for financial services without notice where there is a valid reason, provided that the supplier is required to inform the other contracting party or parties thereof at the earliest opportunity and that the latter are free to dissolve the contract immediately.

Paragraph 1(j) is also without hindrance to terms under which a seller or supplier reserves the right to alter unilaterally the conditions of a contract of indeterminate duration, provided that he is required to inform the consumer with reasonable notice and that the consumer is free to dissolve the contract.

(c)Paragraphs 1(g), (j) and (l) do not apply to:

  • transactions in transferable securities, financial instruments and other products or services where the price is linked to fluctuations in a stock exchange quotation or index or a financial market rate that the seller or supplier does not control;

  • contracts for the purchase or sale of foreign currency, traveller’s cheques or international money orders denominated in foreign currency;

(d)Paragraph 1(l) is without hindrance to price indexation clauses, where lawful, provided that the method by which prices vary is explicitly described.

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