Terms & Conditions

Morton Fraser Associate Stewart Moy
Stewart Moy
Senior Associate
10 January 2019

It was with some level of schadenfreude that the press reported on the terms and conditions of Seaborne Freight, the company awarded a government contract to provide additional cross Channel ferry crossings from Ramsgate in the event of a no deal Brexit.

As a new operator, Seaborne Freight created new terms and conditions in relation to its services and as with all things Brexit these terms attracted a greater level of attention than might ordinarily have been expected. The media attention focused on the following clause, which appeared to resemble the terms and conditions of a takeaway company rather than a ferry operator:

"It is the responsibility of the customer to thoroughly check the supplied goods before agreeing to pay for any meal/order"

Whilst checking a meal before agreeing to pay for it is sound consumer advice, the inclusion of this clause in a ferry operator's terms and conditions was obviously an error. Had a dispute arisen in relation to services provided, the operator may have found itself in a difficult situation. The terms and conditions will form the basis of the contract which a supplier enters into with its customers therefore care must be taken to ensure that these are appropriate and relevant to the services being offered so as to be able to rely on them should a dispute ever arise. 

The most reliable method of ensuring that your business's terms and conditions cover everything they ought to is by creating a bespoke set of terms and conditions rather than copying from elsewhere. Whilst it is tempting to have a go yourself, as the old saying goes it's better to be safe than sorry. Once drafted, terms and conditions should be periodically reviewed to ensure they remain up to date and relevant.

Our lawyers in the Corporate Division at Morton Fraser are experienced in drafting and updating terms and conditions for businesses across the UK and would be happy to discuss your particular needs and how we can help. 


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