The Law Commission is to move to protect consumers from unfair clauses hidden in the small print of financial services contracts.
A consultation opened today by the body, which is set up by Parliament to review British law, is to tackle complex contracts that have become "a routine of daily life".
Price comparison websites had fuelled a culture where companies claimed their products were cheaper than competitors while hiding the true cost of the contract, the Commission said.
Traders who were honest about their pricing also faced losing out.
David Hertzell, the law commissioner leading the project in England and Wales said: "We know that the majority of consumers do not read contracts thoroughly before they sign them. They tend to focus on what appears to be the cost.
"We believe that it should be made clear to consumers what they are committing themselves to before they sign a contract.
"If they are taking out a loan, for example, they should know up front exactly what it is going to cost them"
Scottish law commissioner Hector MacQueen said: "We are proposing a new approach to unfair terms which would assist consumers and traders alike. First, it would protect consumers from being caught out by unpleasant surprises such as unexpected charges.
"Secondly, by requiring terms relating to price or the main subject matter to be in plain, intelligible language, legible and readily available to the consumer, and presented in such a way that the average consumer would be aware of them, it would help to prevent honest traders from losing out to their more unscrupulous counterparts."
The consultation runs until 25 October. For more information click HERE.
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