Common Complaint - Other

Services provided to minors

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.

Issue

A customer may submit to TDR that they were a minor at the time of entering a contract and the contract should not be enforced or be cancelled.

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 Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.

The Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 defines a minor as being a person who is under the age of 18 years and 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 contract was fair and reasonable, and
  • the agreement was not unconscionable, or
  • any obligations on the minor were not harsh or oppressive.

Outcome

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 require the Scheme Member to refund the minor if deemed appropriate.