A reader asked me whether I could recommend any MSCD-ish resources on drafting consumer contracts.
The short answer is that I’ve never looked for any such resources, although I recall that the 1981 book Writing Contracts in Plain English was a pioneering work in this field. Readers, can you recommend anything?
I’ll now attempt slightly longer answer.
I think that much of MSCD would apply to drafting consumer contracts. Here’s what would be different:
- Consumer contracts are more likely to use the second person (you) for one of the parties. I discuss that at MSCD 3.7.
- Use of the second person, plus the need for simplified language, mean that it would be best to do without shall in consumer contracts.
- Beyond that, much of the vocabulary that’s standard in business contracts (for example, the word material) is too complex for consumer contracts.
- Because consumers aren’t inclined to read consumer contracts, it makes sense to make them more alluring by adding what in this 2011 post I call “document-design bling.”
- I assume that depending on the industry, there are laws governing what you say in consumer contracts and how you say it.