Who benefits from the 90 day Clause?

May we congratulate the IMDA on the first and positive step to launch membership of the Association. Free membership is attractive and tempting for any motor trader, but the devil is always in the detail.

CAVEAT EMPTOR - let the buyer beware

The Association has chosen to adopt terms and conditions containing some pernicious terms to prevent members leaving after they joined ‘free’, and can subsequently impose, at will, any level of fees for the next years future membership.

The terms and conditions, which are often found in umbrageous commercial contracts (they are illegal in consumer contracts) and limit termination of the contract to only those who write to terminate some 90 days before the end of the contract. Of course, at this time, if the members relationship is unused or of little value, this clause is often overlooked. You put the contract aside thinking that ‘it cost you nothing and you won’t bother to renew’. At the renewal date you then find that you are tied into a contract for a further year, while IMDA are free to increase the renewal amount as they choose - £1, £100, £1,000 or any other amount!

These contracts are legal for ordinary commercial organisations but where an association holds itself out to be “non-profit making” and is allegedly passionate about the motor trade, then one has to ask, “Who benefits from the 90-day Clause?”.

If the answer is ‘anyone’ except ‘the Motor Trade’, then the original claim in the advertisement of “Free Membership” may be considered misleading and is likely to deceive traders and effect their economic behaviour. Such advertisements are prohibited and constitute a criminal offence.

We urge the IMDA to consider deleting those terms and conditions as a matter of urgency.

 

Authors: David Combes

Published: 22 Nov 2017

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