§ Mr. Ian Taylor
From 1 July 1995, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1994 introduced a general concept of fairness into consumer contract law in the United Kingdom. Companies, including service providers in the mobile telecommunications industry, who deal with consumers and use standard form contracts must ensure that they do not use unfair terms. An unfair term is defined as one which, contrary to the requirement of good faith, causes a significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations under the contract to the detriment of the consumer. A consumer is not bound by a standard term if that term is unfair. Subject to this, service providers and dealers in the mobile phone industry are free to set their own contract conditions in competition with the many other companies in the mobile telephone market. Consumers are also free to shop around to find the best possible package which suits their mobile phone needs and requirements. The Federation of Communication Services, the mobile phone industry's main representative body, has also introduced a quality initiative "FCSQ" which provides significant safeguards for the consumer. Those in the industry who are members of this scheme display a "Q" quality mark, and consumers may wish to look for this mark when taking out a mobile phone contract.