Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law, Second Edition
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Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law, Second Edition

Edited by Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay and Thomas Wilhelmsson

Consumer law and policy continues to be of great concern to both national and international regulatory bodies, and the second edition of the Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law provides an updated international and comparative analysis of the central legal and policy issues, in both developed and developing economies.
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Chapter 7: Unfair terms and standard form contracts

Thomas Wilhelmsson and Chris Willett

Abstract

Chapter 7 explores legal responses to unfair contract terms, in particular in standard form contracts: an issue that is important both in practice and in principle. Four models to deal with the issue are distinguished: the no particular problem model; the standard form contract model; the consumer protection model; and the general fairness model. These models contain different blends of procedural protection, related to the way in which the contract was made and the standard form conditions were incorporated into the contract, and substantive reasoning, directly focusing on the unbalanced content of the contract term and contract in question. The main instruments, discussed in the chapter, are general fairness clauses, applicable in individual contractual disputes, and collective consumer protection mechanisms. The EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive, and its background in various Member State laws, is compared to, among others, American and Australian experiences.

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