Research conducted by ICM for Brandspeak shows that every second consumer signs forms stating they have read and understood terms and conditions when they have not.
Brandspeak says providers must produce literature that is no more than two and a quarter A4 pages in length and reading time should not exceed 25 minutes.
The research shows that when consumers fail to understand literature and don’t ask for clarification 22 per cent say it didn’t seem important.
Sixteen per cent say they didn’t believe they would understand it even after further explanation, 14 per cent didn’t want to appear ill-informed and 13 per cent didn’t feel they could ask their adviser to explain.
Brandspeak director Jeremy Braune says: “Providers, in their efforts to cover all the regulatory bases, generally bombard the end customer with product information, which rather than empowering them turns them right off. The question then is in doing so, are customers really being treated fairly?
“Based on what this research exposes we would argue that the very first step to ensure customers are genuinely treated fairly is for the regulator to acknowledge that half the UK’s adult population really struggles to get to grips with even basic product information as it is currently presented. For providers is means working back from what the average customer realistically is prepared to digest and produce product literature that will actually get read.”