Should Legal Language Be Simplified?

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Tyrion

Strategos
Here in the UK there are both organizations and legislation which protects the interests of the consumer. They the Office of Fair Trade and the Consumer Credit Act, The Unfair Contract Terms Act and a whole raft of other Acts.

The OFT deals with complaints about the lenders and companies who provide goods and services to consumers. It looks into whether the company acted in a way which was unfair towards the consumer and can award compensation. The legislation stated above is but a tiny bit of the numerous provisions in place to protect the public from being swindled by companies.

Most countries have something similar to the OFT, the US for example has the Better Business Bureau.
 

ankimagine

Guest
Here in the UK there are both organizations and legislation which protects the interests of the consumer. They the Office of Fair Trade and the Consumer Credit Act, The Unfair Contract Terms Act and a whole raft of other Acts.

The OFT deals with complaints about the lenders and companies who provide goods and services to consumers. It looks into whether the company acted in a way which was unfair towards the consumer and can award compensation. The legislation stated above is but a tiny bit of the numerous provisions in place to protect the public from being swindled by companies.

Most countries have something similar to the OFT, the US for example has the Better Business Bureau.
this sounds good. In India we have consumer forums. But i mean something different.
Lets see a case - LG company manufactures microwaves and markets in India. Now, the guarantee of the microwave is 1 year. It runs fine for about 1 year and six months. After that it starts giving problems. Now the company is too smart and it stops making that model of microwave and simply changes the model. So now the old ones are irreparable and simply worthless. Your microwave is down in just 1.5 years and then you have to buy a new one since it cannot be repaired. It sounds like the customer is cheated but i dont think the company has broken any law. So, if you get into technicality, company has done no wrong and is not guilty.

Any ideas how to counter those problems?
 

nukedog

Guest
Sounds a lot like apple. The only thing a consumer could do in that situation is spend there money somewhere else. I know china made a fuss about apple and their seeming indifference to fixing china market iPhones. I'm not sure it made any difference.
 

The Mad Monarch

Guest
If the guarantee was 1 year, and it lasted for 1 and 1 half years it cannot be replaced by the company, and you cannot buy a new one if they don't sell them anymore. However, all microwaves are operated on the same principal, so some one will be able to fix it. Also, if you cannot buy a new one from the company, try eBay or something else like it.
 

ankimagine

Guest
If the guarantee was 1 year, and it lasted for 1 and 1 half years it cannot be replaced by the company, and you cannot buy a new one if they don't sell them anymore. However, all microwaves are operated on the same principal, so some one will be able to fix it. Also, if you cannot buy a new one from the company, try eBay or something else like it.
microwave was a small example. all i am saying that there is no after sales service for many of similar products and they force you to buy a new one just to increase their sales. It doesnt seem right. though not unlawful if you go to a technical ground.

one more example : In India, the cement producers formed a cartel and each and every company incerased their cement prices by 30%. Now cement is an important commodity so you have to buy it and dont have any choice when every supplier has increased their prices.

how can we counter these problems?? these all examples are the result of twisted meanings of contracts and license agreements. lol
 

lmaria

Phrourach
I read a number of contracts and legal documents and at times get very confused; I have also come across contract clauses that were themselves either contradictory to one another, impractical or even "illegal". Many times it starts with a document that has been reviewed by a lawyer, and as time goes by, clauses are added without a full review. After a certain time it no longer makes any sense.

Most contracts are geared to protect the one that hands it over for signature (be it a company, a rental place etc.) and very often they have added some clause because of "that one time when". One of the first thing I do if practical is look for clause reciprocity, i.e. if a clause is there to protect the other party, a similar clause should be there to protect me.

The softwares or consumer products on the other hand are in wide distribution, so really if you want the product you don't much choice but to accept the document as is - and except for software downloads, you actually don't even get to accept anything, you are merely being informed, and often after the purchase if you read the document inside the package or envelop you receive later. A good example is banking, they are gracious enough to let you know (if you read) that they unilaterally decide to change their terms and conditions.

Some have become so convoluted that I doubt anybody reads them and understands them fully. So then, what are they good for? I just dealt with my insurance, and they actually don't even refer to that document themselves, they have their interpretation of what it means in real life. Fortunately, there are regulations and consumer boards. And with internet now, consumer reviews are becoming a good tool in one's arsenal.

One of the things I watched for is privacy of data. But even for that, it has become impossible to not share your private information with the whole world, and you really don't know what is being done with it, all you know is typically something like "they will only share it for the purpose of doing business"... well, that can cover quite a lot of ground... and that is, as far as they know that is what they do, but many companies unfortunately don't have the necessary tools to protect that information, so they don't even know. OK, I'll stop here, I realize that also is another debate...

An example of "illegal" document is those that they get you to sign (limiting their liability) when you do a so-called "dangerous activity" - most of the time they don't mean anything as the law would apply anyhow, not that document.
It doesn't hurt to know a few things. What would be great is if there were some help to learn about these things, such as "law 101", for everyday situations and documents.
I would prefer legal documents to be simpler, or have a summary indeed. Most have at least headers for the paragraphs, which have no legal meaning and are there to help. More things like that would be nice. For specific situations, there are websites with great information.

I have a question for the lawyers in the community (or anyone who knows): it is my understanding that some countries pass judgment mainly based on precedence, whereas others base them on the rules written in the law book, or a mix of both; i.e. it is my understanding that precedence is important in some countries more than others, any comment?
 

Shadis

Guest
Let's look at the facts. A majority of the world's population don't even read the warnings and ingredients lists and such so why use them? They are just eye sores and annoying. However, we need them because in some ways it's better to see something like warning peanuts are used in this product than see no warning eat the thing, and having a allergic reaction and think I wish it had a warning. Honestly though I don't care too much about this and I don't know much about 'legal language', so I probably won't 'debate' on this much..
 

Frozen13

Guest
precedence is used to help a judge decide a case if the current case is similar to the one being referred to. judges of lower courts generally must follow the decisions of the higher courts.
 

Sqin

Guest
I remember when I studied Law for a semester, the first thing the Dean said to us was: We are here to learn the mumbojumbo and translate it for people; the language of law will never change, so you will always have a job.

I feel that it's like accountancy, if you want to take the time to learn it then you can handle your own accounts etc. If you want to take the time and spend the four years that Lawyers etc take to understand the language, then go for it. I don't feel there is a need to have it simplified.
 
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