Contracts should always be read carefully before they're signed - but around 37 million people have 'signed blind' in the past. Research from Debt Advisory Centre shows that millions have lived to regret this.
Salford, Lancashire -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/25/2013 -- - Three quarters of UK adults (37 million) have signed contracts and legal agreements without reading them properly beforehand
- 70% believe contracts take too long to read, and more than half think they are too difficult to understand
- But many have gone on to regret it - with broadband/phone/pay TV contracts topping the list
Three quarters of us have signed contracts without reading them properly. Although they're widely seen as too long to read and too difficult to understand, millions have lived to regret 'signing blind'.
Revealing much about attitudes to contracts, figures* released today by Debt Advisory Centre highlight the need to pay more attention to legally binding agreements.
Asked which contracts they had signed without reading thoroughly:
- 44% said a PayPal / eBay user agreement - equivalent to 22 million people
- 43% said a broadband, phone or pay TV contract - equivalent to 21.5 million
- 42% said online retailer terms & conditions - equivalent to 21 million
Even more worrying, millions of us have had reason to regret signing a contract without reading it.
Broadband, phone & pay TV contracts caused the most regret. Over three million people wish they hadn't signed at least one of these without first going through the terms and conditions.
Credit was also high on the list. As the research shows, around 2.5 million people regret not reading the terms of a loan or credit agreement.
The two reasons that really stood out when we asked people why they didn't read contracts before committing themselves were:
- 26 million: they take too long to read
- 19 million: they're too difficult to understand.
Age and gender are major factors influencing our attitudes. Younger people were more than twice as likely to feel that reading contracts simply wasn't worth the time, while men seemed particularly impatient:
- While 21% of 18-34 year-olds felt this way, just 9% of the over-55s agreed
- 17% of men agreed with this, compared with 11% of women.
It pays to take the time
"Understanding what you're committing yourself to is an essential part of managing your finances properly," said Ian Williams of Debt Advisory Centre.
"Our experience with people in debt is that many people simply didn't understand what they had signed, which can cause real problems when it comes to things like cancellation fees or fixed contracts."
* Opinium Research carried out 2,017 online interviews between 29th and 31st January 2013. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.
Notes to Editors
The Debt Advisory Centre offers expert debt advice, as well as a range of debt solutions for people facing financial difficulties.
For more information, visit the Debt Advisory Centre website at http://www.debtadvisorycentre.co.uk.
Debt Advisory Centre
Tel: 07855 214851