The ‘unfair contract terms’ legislation covers contracts that businesses enter into with their members or customers. It covers where the member doesn’t have the opportunity to negotiate the terms, as they’re offered on a take it or leave it basis. You’ll see these all the time as a consumer – think of the contracts with your gym, internet provider, and phone or electricity company.
From 17 March 2015, businesses will be required to ensure terms in their consumer contracts aren’t unfair. Businesses also have to ensure that their terms are transparent, accessible and easy to read. For Trade Me members, terms can be considered unfair if they create an imbalance in the parties rights and obligations, creates detriment, or aren’t necessary to protect Trade Me’s business interests or it’s community.
Here at Trade Me, we think our terms and conditions are already pretty fair. We’ve made a couple of minor tweaks to clearly explain how any changes we make will be communicated to you, and also to clarify what kind of conduct we won’t tolerate from our members. Check out our newly updated Terms and Conditions.
Now is a great time to think about which businesses you have a contract with. Take a look at their terms to make sure you think they’re fair. For more information, you can check out the Commerce Commission’s guidelines. We’d love to hear your feedback on these changes, so feel free to drop us a line.