Consumers should read fine print in every deal, cautions law practitioners

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — In the wake of COVID-19 that brings with it all manners of disruption, consumers are advised, in the aspect of goods and services, to scrutinise the terms and conditions in every deal prior to accepting it.

A law firm which declined to be identified said there is usually a provision in the Products and Services Clause, such as in online purchases, that allows suppliers to terminate the deal.

“If they (supplier) are not able to deliver due to COVID-19, for example, they are unable to get supply from China, consumers can be assured of getting back their money if there is provision for a refund; the problem arises if there is no such provision,” its spokesperson told Bernama today.

According to the law firm, most well-drafted commercial contracts have a clause commonly termed as ‘force majeure’ to deal with the contractual parties’ respective rights, obligations and reliefs if a frustrating event occurs.

“If the terms and conditions have a force majeure clause to say that they can cancel in the event that they’re unable to supply due to events out of control, then, of course, they can then cancel and that’s it,” said the spokesperson.

As in business-to-business cases, she said the same applies to consumer-supplier cases: “It depends on the clause and terms and conditions they have entered into, to confirm, to see whether the suppliers have the right on a situation they’re unable to supply due to reasons out of the control.

In the case of service deferment, she said there are terms and conditions which “a lot of people do not realise”.

“For example, when they buy air tickets, in a lot of cases, airlines do actually allow cancellations. If they cancel, some airlines have the right to say when they will repay the money – repurchasing by the consumer of another flight ticket within a stipulated time.

“Whether the terms and conditions allow airlines to cancel or allow the individuals to cancel, it is all governed by the provisions,” she pointed out.

As regards insurance coverage, the lawyer said it was imperative for consumers to scrutinise the policy and see where they stood.

“For example, if the flight was cancelled due to fault of the airline, with insurance coverage, it would be alright but if it is not due to the fault of the airline, the consumer has to bear the consequences,” she said.

She said if all else failed, the remedy for consumers could be the Consumers’ Tribunal, where at a minimal cost they may file their complaint to obtain restitution.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Consumers should read fine print in every deal, cautions law practitioners

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — In the wake of COVID-19 that brings with it all manners of disruption, consumers are advised, in the aspect of goods and services, to scrutinise the terms and conditions in every deal prior to accepting it.

A law firm which declined to be identified said there is usually a provision in the Products and Services Clause, such as in online purchases, that allows suppliers to terminate the deal.

“If they (supplier) are not able to deliver due to COVID-19, for example, they are unable to get supply from China, consumers can be assured of getting back their money if there is provision for a refund; the problem arises if there is no such provision,” its spokesperson told Bernama today.

According to the law firm, most well-drafted commercial contracts have a clause commonly termed as ‘force majeure’ to deal with the contractual parties’ respective rights, obligations and reliefs if a frustrating event occurs.

“If the terms and conditions have a force majeure clause to say that they can cancel in the event that they’re unable to supply due to events out of control, then, of course, they can then cancel and that’s it,” said the spokesperson.

As in business-to-business cases, she said the same applies to consumer-supplier cases: “It depends on the clause and terms and conditions they have entered into, to confirm, to see whether the suppliers have the right on a situation they’re unable to supply due to reasons out of the control.

In the case of service deferment, she said there are terms and conditions which “a lot of people do not realise”.

“For example, when they buy air tickets, in a lot of cases, airlines do actually allow cancellations. If they cancel, some airlines have the right to say when they will repay the money – repurchasing by the consumer of another flight ticket within a stipulated time.

“Whether the terms and conditions allow airlines to cancel or allow the individuals to cancel, it is all governed by the provisions,” she pointed out.

As regards insurance coverage, the lawyer said it was imperative for consumers to scrutinise the policy and see where they stood.

“For example, if the flight was cancelled due to fault of the airline, with insurance coverage, it would be alright but if it is not due to the fault of the airline, the consumer has to bear the consequences,” she said.

She said if all else failed, the remedy for consumers could be the Consumers’ Tribunal, where at a minimal cost they may file their complaint to obtain restitution.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency