Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Small print nightmare from 1972

I've been blogging on the Simplification Centre website about the new 2015 Consumer Rights Act, which is supposed to banish the small print (we'll see). I came across this nice example of coverage of this issue from The Guardian, 30 October 1972.

“Intrepid travellers on the cross Channel routes have come up against amazing exclusion clauses in the small print on the tickets that rarely get read. Translating the legalese into practical terms, one such traveller concludes that: ‘The combination of conditions 3, 5, 6, 9 and 11c allow Normandy Ferries to have an incompetent employee stow dangerous cargo insecurely alongside my car and to divert the vessel from Le Havre to, say, Bilbao. If, as a result, the incompetent captain is unable to cope with the rigours of the Bay of Biscay so that the pitching of the unseaworthy ship causes the dangerous cargo to come adrift and if, consequently, it blows up hurling my car into the air and sinks a passing fishing boat with all hands, then not only do I have no claim against Normandy Ferries but I also must indemnify them against all claims made against them”.

I found this quoted in an EU document: "Report on the practical implementation of Directive 93/13/EEC in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland", 1999, by Brian Collins.