As the U.S. member body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) invites all interested stakeholders to submit comments on a proposal and supporting documents for a new ISO standard on guidelines for organizations to increase consumer understanding of online terms and conditions. Submit feedback by January 21, 2021.
ISO COPOLCO (the ISO policy development committee on consumer policy) in cooperation with BSI (the ISO member from the United Kingdom) submitted the proposal and supporting documents for a new ISO standard on guidelines for organizations to increase consumer understanding of online terms and conditions.
Clarity of terms and conditions, or T&Cs, is a matter of increasing relevance and importance to consumers as global markets and e-commerce flourish, as the proposal asserts. However, online T&Cs can be onerously complicated and long, creating confusion and deterring consumers from reading them. "It is vital that the consumer voice is heard in the development of a standard about online terms and conditions (T&Cs) as there is currently an imbalance of power, with many T&Cs drafted by organizations unduly biased towards their own interests and to the detriment of consumers," according to the document.
The proposed new work item is intended to clarify T&C, which will ensure that consumers can make fully informed decisions prior to purchase or use of goods, services, and digital content, thus reducing the risk of detriment arising from confusing, complicated, and unfair contractual terms.
Additional information is available in the proposal document. All comments should be sent to Steven P. Cornish, ANSI senior director for international policy ([email protected]). Feedback is due by January 21, 2021.
Based on the input received from U.S. stakeholders, a recommended ANSI position and any comments will be developed and presented to the ANSI ISO Committee (AIC) for approval before the ISO voting deadline of March 3, 2021.
ANSI has published an explanatory information document outlining the process used to develop U.S. positions on issues and activities under consideration by ISO and IEC. Click here to download the document.