Services provided to minors
Summary of the issue
The question arises from time to time as to the validity of a contract taken out with a minor for telecommunication services, and whether any penalties can be enforced under that contract against the minor customer.
Usual positions of the parties
The customer may submit to TDR that the contract enterered into should not be enforced or be cancelled, as the customer was a minor at the time it was entered into.
The Scheme Member may argue that the contract is valid, and that the obligations imposed on the customer are equally valid, and should be maintained.
TDR's view of the issue
TDR will generally approach a complaint relating to a contract with a minor, by applying the considerations found in the Minors Contracts Act 1969 (Minors Contracts Act).
The Minors Contracts Act defines a minor as being a person who has not reached the age of 18 years (for example, 17 years and 364 days of age).
The Minors Contacts Act holds that any contract entered into by a minor for a service (such as a telephone or internet service), will be upheld as if that person were of full age (18 years or over), providing that:
- the agreement was not unconscionable, or
- any obligations on the minor was not harsh or oppressive
The outcome of any complaint to TDR may be that:
- the contract and its obligations on the minor may be upheld as in the agreement, or
- the entire contract be cancelled, or
- the contract be found unenforceable against the minor in whole or part
TDR may award compensation or restitution to the minor if deemed appropiate.