Avoid unfair terms in sales contracts

Last updated: 7 December 2017

Unfair consumer contracts

You can't enforce unfair terms in a standard consumer contract.

You can never enforce terms that try to avoid your responsibility for:

  • death
  • injury
  • faulty goods
  • goods that aren't as described
  • selling goods that aren't yours to sell

You might not be able to enforce terms if they try to avoid your responsibility in other ways, eg:

  • delays
  • unsatisfactory services
  • not doing what was agreed

Your contract terms might also be unfair if they weigh the contract significantly in your favour, eg:

  • excessive cancellation charges and automatic loss of all upfront payments
  • unbalanced rights, eg being able to cancel a contract at any time, but requiring the customer to give 3 months' notice
  • being able to change the agreed price for any reason at a later date

Your contract won't be unfair just because it sets a price that's higher than another business charges.

Contracts must be written in plain language to avoid being misleading and unfair.

If a customer complains

It's up to the courts to decide if terms in your contract are unfair.

You can be taken to court by the Competition and Markets Authority or a local trading standards office to stop you using unfair terms.

Read the guidance on unfair terms and information for businesses about unfair terms.

Avoid unfair terms in sales contracts
Unfair consumer contracts