Consumer Law from Oct 2015 – Budget 2017 Use of Small Print

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/04/budget-2017-chancellor-philip-hammond-announce-ban-baffling/

The small print problem is especially bad for financial products, such as insurance. According to one study by Fairer Finance, which applied a little-known formula called the "Flesch Kincaid" reading score to nearly 300 insurers' documents, a third of all insurance policy documents are written in a language that is only understandable to people with university-level qualifications.

Flesch reading ease
Score School Level Notes
70.0–60.0 8th & 9th grade Plain English. Easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students.
60.0–50.0 10th to 12th grade Fairly difficult to read.
50.0–30.0 College Difficult to read.
30.0–0.0 College Graduate Very difficult to read. Best understood by university graduates.

A READABILITY TEST APPLIED TO AN ERNEST WILSON CONTRACT - SEE BELOW

1.0 By signing this contract you hereby appoint Ernest Wilson to sell your business and/or property, information regarding which is written on page 1 of this contract and which you have read and certify as true.
1.1 In consideration of services rendered and of making reasonable efforts to sell the said business and/or property you hereby agree to give us sole selling rights (see Definitions” below for a full explanation of the term “Sole Selling Rights”) during the period of this contract and to pay any other commission or advertising and marketing charges due under this agreement.
1.11 Ernest Wilson agree’s to cooperate with yourself and prospective Buyers to achieve a sale of the said business and/or property.
1.2 During the period of this contract you agree to cooperate fully with Ernest Wilson and all prospective Buyers so as to give us every opportunity to earn our commission.

Readability Formula Grade
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 12.4
Gunning-Fog Score 15.4
Coleman-Liau Index 11.5
SMOG Index 14.2
Automated Readability Index 13.5
Average Grade Level 13.4

So from the above, we learn that the average small-business owner would need AT LEAST a University Degree to read and understand Ernest Wilson's Terms and Conditions, which run to 4 pages of closely-typed small print. Perhaps you would care to go to https://readable.io/ and type in text from an RTA contract, or a Hilton Smythe 'agreement'. No Estate Agent or Business Broker has the power to SELL your business, only the power to ADVERTISE it.

From: http://www.out-law.com/en/topics/commercial/consumer-protection/the-consumer-rights-act-consolidating-uk-consumer-protection-laws/

Application

The Consumer Rights Act applies to contracts and notices between a 'trader' and a 'consumer'.

A 'consumer' is defined as "an individual acting for purposes that are wholly or mainly outside that individual's trade, business, craft or profession". This definition of consumer is wider than existing definitions found in UK and EU law as it includes individuals who enter into contracts for a mixture of business and personal reasons.

From: http://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/services/the-supply-of-services-from-1-october-2015#Whatisaconsumer

What is a consumer?

For the purposes of this guide, a 'consumer' is an individual who, in his dealings with a trader, is not acting for the purposes of a business. Where a consumer presents himself as a business (for example, by setting up a business account for buying a service) the law does not consider him to be a consumer.

If the trader claims that the customer is not a consumer, and that the customer's rights are therefore limited, it is for the trader to prove this.