The holiday season is in full swing and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new campaign, ‘Small Print, Big Difference’. This campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the risks holiday businesses can face if they don’t have clear terms and conditions within their customer contracts.

The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority.  It is responsible for enforcing the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA). In an effort to ensure businesses in the holiday industry are compliant with the law, the CMA is raising awareness about unfair contract terms and the law regulating this area.

The CRA protects consumers against unfair contract terms and conditions. Most businesses want to comply with the law, and the aim of the ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign is to ensure consumer contracts are up-to-date and compliant with regulations. Key areas to cover in terms and conditions are deposits and cancellation fees, both of which can give rise to customer complaints if the terms are not clear and fair.  Holiday providers need to be upfront and transparent with their customers about any additional costs. As such, the CMA is urging holiday and travel businesses to use clear and fair terms and conditions in their customer contracts.

The call for clearer and fairer terms and conditions is not just about protecting the consumer, but also about minimising the risk to business owners. Terms within the contract must be fair in order to be relied upon by the business. A term can be unfair if it gives the business an unfair advantage. Failure to comply with the CRA runs the risk of leaving your business unprotected because your terms and conditions could be susceptible to challenge under the CRA, which may ultimately mean you are unable to rely upon or enforce the terms and conditions in the event of a dispute with a customer.

At Stephens Scown, we can help you ‘check in on your terms’, as the CMA suggests, and review them to make sure that they comply with the CRA and other legislation applicable to your business.  This approach will help to avoid customer complaints and disputes, and also strengthen your position in the event that a dispute does arise.

If you would like us to review your terms and conditions, please get in touch and our Corporate Team will be happy to help.  If you are involved in a dispute over your terms and conditions, or any other contracts, our Commercial Dispute Resolution Team can provide expert advice to resolve the dispute quickly and cost effectively.