Investment specialist Skandia has called time on tedious terms and conditions and signed up award winning comedian and barrister Clive Anderson to present their online terms to customers in a video.
Online research commissioned by Skandia shows that only 7% of adults always read full online terms and conditions when signing up for products and services, with 43% of those who don’t always read them saying they are boring or contain wording they don’t understand. Given the choice, nearly six in ten (58%) adults said they would rather read an instruction manual or their utility or credit card bill than go through online terms and more than one in 10 (12%) would rather read the phone book.
Worryingly, just over a fifth (21%) of the people surveyed say they have suffered as a result of ticking the terms and conditions box without having done their homework. One in 10 (10%) have found themselves locked into a longer term contract than they expected by signing up without reading the small print and one in 20 (5%) have lost money by not being able to cancel or amend hotels or holidays.
“We know people find terms and conditions boring but they’re a necessary part of any contract and they’re particularly important where money is concerned,” says Skandia’s Jo Rimmer. “Our initiative with Clive marks the start of work to completely overhaul all our terms and conditions to make them easy to understand. It’s a major job but it’s worth it because it will give our customers a greater understanding of what they’re signing up for.”
In the video Clive Anderson talks about the importance of knowing what’s hidden in the small print, as well as reading out in full Skandia’s online service terms and conditions.
During May 350,000 Skandia customers are being contacted to sign up to the service. They will be given the opportunity to watch Clive Anderson’s video, or simply listen to him read them via an audio file, as an alternative to having to read the terms themselves before they tick the box to confirm acceptance.
“Signing up to our online service will give customers easy access to important information about their investments,” says Jo Rimmer. “It will also reduce the amount of paper we use to communicate with them, which will have an additional environmental benefit.”
Notes to editor:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2002 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 4th April 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).