MP declares war on small print

4 March 2008
Nick Palmer MP is calling for a new law that will seek to make the small print used in advertising and contracts more readable.

Unlike many consumer champions, the Labour MP for Broxtowe is not seeking to change the regulations surrounding what’s included in the small print, rather he wants to make it easier for people to actually read the information by introducing a new minimum font size.

Speaking in Parliament he said: "It is easy to say 'let the buyer beware', but if the buyer cannot read the contract, how is he or she supposed to beware?" He added: "The phrase 'in the small print' has become a standard metaphor for evasive and devious modification of what appears to be on offer."

The bill is being supported by the Plain English Campaign. "The scourge of small print has made life a misery for many people over the years," said spokesman, Steve Jenner. "There is absolutely no reason for it apart from making information more difficult to read. The only conclusion we can draw is that when companies and organisations use small print, they don’t want us to understand."

Areas of particular concern, highlighted by Nick Palmer, were conditions surrounding the return of deposits on rental properties, restrictions on insurance company payouts and mortgage redemption fees levied by lenders.

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