- Nearly 75 per cent of customers admit not reading policy documents
- Consumer group has launched campaign against length of T&Cs
- HSBC was worst offending bank with more than 34,000 words
- Shakespeare's play Macbeth is 19,000 words long in comparison
Nearly three quarters of consumers admitted to not reading all of their policy documents or T&Cs because they were too long.
While only 17 per cent of people who did read it in full said they understood it, according to the survey of more than 2,000 people.
Consumer group Fairer Finance, who commissioned the survey, has launched a campaign against the book-length policy documents that are riddled with legalese and jargon.Several terms and conditions sent out to customers were found to be nearly twice the length of Shakespeare’s Macbeth - which is 19,000 words long.
Analysis by Fairer Finance found HSBC topped the table for the longest bank account T&Cs at just over 34,000 words long - almost 5,000 words longer than John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
The shortest in the sector was Nationwide’s, though it still weighed in at a hefty 11,000 words.
In car insurance, Endsleigh has the dubious honour of longest motor policy with more than 37,000 words - just a few hundred words shy of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
While Sheila’s Wheels, Esure and M&S Bank all had policy documents of over 30,000 words - longer than George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The shortest in the sector was LV with just under 7,000 words.
James Daley, founder and managing director of Fairer Finance, said all banks and insurers should make documents more accessible and do away with small print that is riddled with legalese and jargon.He said: ‘If next to no one is reading terms and conditions, and even those who do are struggling to understand them, then what exactly is the point of these documents?
‘Of course it’s important that customers know what’s covered and what isn’t in their insurance policy, but if one company can do the job in less than 7,000 words, there’s no excuse for insurers who are producing documents that are five times as long.