Isn't it time accountancy suppliers modernised?

Isn't it time accountancy suppliers modernised?

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I was absolutely horrified this week to learn that despite Lexis Nexis contacting me only 45 days before my next year's subscription of Tolley's Guidance was due to ask me whether I wanted to renew or not, I didn't have the option to not renew and had to sign up for that year's renewal as you had to give 90 days notice before its renewal date to stop the subscription.  Why did they bother to contact me at all then?!  Surely it is not legal to contact me after the notice period and ask me if I want to renew - the insurance companies always contact us just before the contract renews and say do nothing if you just want to renew your contract but otherwise contact us.

I dug out the contract, which was hard to find as I`ve been with them since 2012 and even this doesn't seem to be fair either.  Lexis Nexis only have to give me 30 days notice to terminate the contract from their side but I have to give up to 450 days notice (if I miss the 90 days notice ahead of the year's new subscription).  Surely this isn't a agreement that would stand legally if it is so inequitable?

I find this type of contract quite shocking in the context of all the new software products which sign you up for a maximum of 12 months but more normally for just one month at a time and they make sure that their product is good enough that you want to keep using it, which is a much better model in my opinion.

Needless to say, I won`t be touching any Lexis Nexis products in the future, once I`ve got out of my current contract in April 2017!  You may have short-term profit Lexis Nexis but you`ll miss out on a long-term loyal relationship now.

Replies (12)

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By Tim Vane
01st Mar 2016 22:41

So you signed a contract that you don't think was fair, and now you don't think it's fair that you signed it. Would you like some snake oil to rub on that, sir?

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By petersaxton
02nd Mar 2016 06:41

Sky said that I could pay £65 and they would come out to look at my Sky box once or I could pay £10 per month for six months and they'd come out as many times as needed. I chose the latter. I was put through to this insurance company who said the £10 per month (after the first six months) would continue until I cancelled. This seemed like inertia selling so I told them to cancel after the six months. They tried to argue and say that I had to wait until just before the end of the six months but I stuck to my guns and eventually they accepted my cancellation. 

You should cancel as soon as you become aware of the terms that you dont like.

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By tom123
02nd Mar 2016 07:11

D&B / alarm company etc

I agree with Peter. In the past I have given notice at the start of the contract for the end - and managed to get it accepted.

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By sirp2000
02nd Mar 2016 09:11

Lexis Nexis
Pillowmay, I am in exactly the same situation but I have cancelled my direct debit and told them to sue me.

A 90 day notice period for an annual contract is in contravention of the Office of Fair Trading ( or whatever they're called now) rules. They only allow a 30 day maximum for an annual contract.

Tim, even if both sides have signed the contract, the courts can overturn it if the conditions imposed are deemed to be unfair, which is the case here.

Like Pillowmay, I will never touch Lexis Nexis again.

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By cheekychappy
02nd Mar 2016 09:35

Unfair Contracts

Generally, businesses can enter contracts as they see fit and businesses don't have the same protection as consumers.

Contractual terms imposed such as notice periods on a B2B basis are not deemed to be unfair. Mainly business contracts are only deemed unfair if they exclude liability from negligence, death / injury, defective products etc.

Despite businesses being seen to be more prudent in entering business contracts, it would seem that many businesses enter contracts without reading the terms of the contract. In these instances, it is usually tough [***].

There's a lot to be said for reading contractual terms before signing on the dotted line.


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By Tim Vane
02nd Mar 2016 10:19

@sirp2000 - the OFT are not going to concern themselves with B2B contracts unless it directly impacts consumers, which is certainly not the case here. And you kid yourself if you think that a court would be likely to overturn a valid contract between two businesses, just because one side decides to change its mind. That would undermine the entire basis of doing business and just isn't going to happen. Take it on the chin and learn the lesson that if you are in business you need to read a contract and understand it before signing it, because everybody else in business will assume you are a grown up.

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By iknell
02nd Mar 2016 11:41

Lexis Nexis

Have set up two accounts for me so I have double the trouble.  They also send invoices dated around a fortnight before the book is received but get very difficult if this is queried.

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By Maslins
02nd Mar 2016 12:06

Legally, I don't think you've got a leg to stand on unfortunately.

However, I agree it's completely disgusting, and you should make your complaint public. I naively hope contracts like that die a death due to sufficient negative feedback from customers.

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By cathygrimmer
02nd Mar 2016 12:17

An added whinge!

What annoys me is getting a reminder about paying the invoice before the payment period has expired - and, more than once - a phone call asking me if I shall be paying a few days after I've been sent the invoice but well before the payment is due. Given that the invoice is sent out at least a month before the renewal date, I tend to be a bit curt when I'm called and point out that I'll pay it when it's due. As I was when I was called yesterday about whether I would renew a subscription which isn't due for renewal until 20 April! 


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By Moonbeam
02nd Mar 2016 13:09

Publishing companies

I had a very bad experience with Lexis Nexis for sending me books I hadn't ordered and then demanding money, and now get spammed by Bloomsbury.

If ever I need any of their publications I will go to Amazon, who don't give me any grief.

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Nichola Ross Martin
By Nichola Ross Martin
10th May 2019 20:38

We have just fallen foul of their extraordinary terms. It seems hard to believe that a company of the size of Lexis Nexis is still trying this on after all this time.

Page 51 of this government handout has an example of an unfair contract term. My advice would to defend any claim via the court if needed and use another supplier.
I would recommend I am of course biased in my recommendation and this is the service I use every day: ). We found that we were not using Lexis stuff at all.

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Replying to Nichola Ross Martin:
By Tim Vane
11th May 2019 01:27

Nichola Ross Martin wrote:

Page 51 of this government handout has an example of an unfair contract term. My advice would to defend any claim via the court if needed and use another supplier.

Poor advice. Consumer protection does not apply to business contracts. The assumption is that businesses are run by grown ups who will read a contract before signing it.

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