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Shoppers losing money with unwanted contracts as half of Brits admit ignoring T&Cs

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

Half of Brits do not read terms and conditions due to having a short attention span, leading to many shoppers losing cash in the process, a study reveals.

One in three (29%) are more likely to read a long WhatsApp message than they are to take in the small print when making a purchase, despite two fifths (39%) saying being ripped off is a ‘bug bear’.

This issue is hitting many unhappy customers in the pocket. Almost a fifth (16%) of the 2,004 respondents surveyed by Giffgaff have had to pay an extortionate fee to get out of an unwanted contract they signed up to.

However, an overwhelming majority (89%) are not satisfied with the effort businesses are making on this issue and of those asked, almost half (48%) think the language used by businesses is too difficult to understand.

This has led to 55% of shoppers blaming jargon in their decision not read all the information included in terms and conditions.

Lengthy jargon creates ‘frustration and uncertainty’

Analysis from the network provider on the nation’s concentration levels found shoppers switch off after reading text for two minutes and 17 seconds. After this point, research shows their attention is lost completely.

Reflecting on Giffgaff’s study, psychological and behavioural science professor, Elizabeth Stokoe, said: “It’s clear that a combination of jargon and text length is the most common reason why people stop paying attention to T&Cs – despite knowing that this might create problems down the line.

“Being bombarded by lengthy jargon-filled text also creates frustration and uncertainty, since 20% of people also said that they don’t know what they need to do or read when confronted with such text.”

The CEO of Giffgaff, Ash Schofield, commented: “People are looking for simplicity. As a nation, we are busy and often have a short attention span, we just don’t have the time to look for hidden small print, so it’s up to businesses to do the right thing and provide greater transparency to customers.”