We have launched a new series of videos and quick guides to help businesses avoid unfair contract terms in their standard form consumer contracts.

The quick guides are aimed at businesses and designed to draw their attention to the unfair contract term provisions and their need to get legal advice to ensure their contracts are fair.

The guides provide tips on terms that may be unfair such as unilateral variation and cancellation clauses, subscriptions and automatic renewals, and clauses that specify where responsibility lies if things go wrong.

The quick guides and videos were adapted for New Zealand law, courtesy of the United Kingdom’s Competition & Markets Authority and are a great example of regulators working together across borders to tackle common problems.

The videos and quick guides can be found here.

An earlier series of quick guides and videos on competition law can be found here.

Unfair contract terms (UCTs)

The Fair Trading Act prohibits contract terms in standard form consumer contracts which create a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations between businesses and consumers, cause detriment to consumers, and are not reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate interest of the business.

The provisions are designed to make sure these one size fits all, take it or leave it, agreements strike an appropriate balance between the rights and obligations of businesses and consumers.

Other work on UCTs

The videos and guides are part of a broader programme of work on unfair contract terms.

The Commission has looked into standard form consumer contracts in telecommunications, energy retail, and gyms to assess their compliance with the law. It has also engaged with a number of providers of pre-paid transport cards pre-paid transport cards in relation to their standard form terms and conditions.