Have you ever signed blind? 37 million have...

Posted by

18 February 2013

Have you ever signed a contract or agreement without reading it properly? If you have, you're not alone - over 37 million people in the UK have done the same.

It's easy to see why. Contracts can be full of 'legalese' the average person might not understand even if they did read it! But that's no reason to sign something 'blindly' - and it doesn't mean there's no way to understand it.

What are we signing?

Debt Advisory Centre has just looked into signing blind*, asking over 2,000 people about their experiences here. We found some startling figures:

  • Around 22 million people (44% of the people questioned) have signed a PayPal / eBay user agreement without reading it thoroughly.
  • Almost as many - 21.5 million - have signed a broadband, phone or pay TV contract without going through it properly.
  • 37 million people have signed some sort of contract or agreement without reading it all the way through.

What could the consequences be?

You might be agreeing to pay more than you thought - or for longer than you expected.

You might be giving someone permission to use your personal information in ways you don't want.

You could be putting your property at risk. There's no way to get around this if you're taking out a mortgage or secured loan, but it's vital you understand what you're committing yourself to.

What do we regret?

  • More than three million people regret signing a broadband, phone or pay TV contract without reading it through.
  • Over 2.5 million regret doing this with an insurance policy.
  • Over 2.5 million wish they hadn't signed a loan or credit agreement without going through the terms & conditions properly.

So why don't we read them?

  • 70% said it just takes too long to read them. That works out to over 26 million people across the UK.
  • 51% said they're too difficult to understand, which works out to 19 million people.

What should I do?

If you're about to sign up for something, make sure you read it and understand it, even if it takes a while. If you need to, get some expert advice. There's no need to feel embarrassed if you don't know what all the phrases mean: any expert you talk to about it will appreciate how confusing it can all be for the average person.

If you're struggling with debts because you didn't read all the 'small print' - or for any other reason - there are things you can do about it. A good way to start is to talk to a debt expert: call one of the numbers at the top of this page, or fill in the 'request a callback' form and they'll call you.

* Opinium Research carried out 2,017 online interviews between 29th and 31st January 2013. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

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