Terms and Conditions Apply

Radio advertisers, nowadays, seem to fall over each other in their rush to state that ‘Ts & Cs Apply’. They will entice you in with the glowing ‘Special Offers’ and then dump you down the well of ‘Ts & Cs’. Sometimes, almost a third of the air time is taken up with the narrator reading several pages of ‘Ts & Cs’ as fast as he can and breathlessly. The reading is so fast, it is almost unintelligible.

Apparently, some of this is a legal requirement, but most of it is retailer protection. They need this protection from the hoardes of teeming consumers who mercilessly descend upon their products and consume them eagerly. One could be forgiven for thinking they do not want this. Yet, there are hoards of unscrupulous manufacturers/suppliers/retailers who will go out of their way to foist unsuitable, inappropriate and, sometimes, downright illegal products on an unsuspecting market. Yet we don’t question it when a large sheet of mostly unintelligible gobbledogook is pressed in front of us and we are asked to sign it – and when we do, we give up our rights and grant the supplier/retailer/manufacturer unimaginable rights. I used to type up Terms and Conditions when I worked for a printer and the main basis is that the goods/services remain the property of the supplier until final payment is made and, even then, there may be circumstances that allow retention of rights by the supplier. However, should the supplier fall down on his part of the bargain then tough – so what – we tried and failed – but you, the consumer, shall have no recourse against the supplier because it was just bad luck. Essentially, the supplier is saying that they will take every chance to wriggle out of the contract and retain both the goods/services and your money. However, then is not a chance in hell that you, the consumer, will ever be allowed to wriggle out of anything. It all seems a bit one-sided, doesn’t it?

Why then, is there not  a ‘Consumers’ Charter’ with our own set of Ts & Cs that the manufacturer/supplier/retailer must agree to before completing the sale? We could have a printed pad, with our own Ts & Cs that the supplier must sign before accepting our business. Then we’d see a change …

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