New Zealand Storage Agreements have been updated

28-Jul-2017

Mob in Hand

2017 SSAA SELF STORAGE AGREEMENTS

BACKGROUND TO THE CHANGES

The 2015 storage agreements included updates to reflect the unfair contract terms (UCT) legislation that was introduced in March 2015. However, the Commerce Commission (Commission) has since released two industry reports on UCT in the telecommunications and electricity sectors.

The Commission’s reports reviewed the standard form contracts of 16 businesses in these industries which had already been updated to reflect the new UCT legislation by the legal teams of these businesses. However, the Commission adopted much higher thresholds and took a much more consumer-focused approach than market participants and lawyers expected. This meant the 16 businesses had to amend their contracts again. In providing these reports, the Commission has made it clear that the Commission expects all suppliers to adopt these higher standards. Accordingly, the SSAA has, with its New Zealand lawyers, reviewed and updated its template storage agreements.

CHANGES TO THE 2017 STORAGE AGREEMENTS

The 2017 SSAA storage agreements have been amended to take account of the Commission’s strict stance. These changes are mainly aimed at:

  • • addressing any perceived imbalance in the allocation of risk and liability to the Storer for damage/loss, especially where the liability is due to a third party outside of the Storer’s control. The Commission’s view is that businesses cannot make the customer (in effect) their insurer by placing liability on the customer for things outside of their control;
  • • clarifying that Facilities are not excluding their liability to Storers under consumer protection legislation (this legislation applies to consumers storing goods with a Facility regardless of terms to the contrary in their storage agreement);
  • • restricting use of the Managed Agreement to business Storers only. This allows Facilities to better manage the commercial relationship;
  • • clarifying that the storage agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the Facility and the Storer i.e. no previous discussions or understandings form part of the agreement unless they are set out in the storage agreement.

SUMMARY

It is important that the new storage agreements are used instead of the old versions. The SSAA recommends all existing Storers should be moved onto the new storage agreements. The SSAA acknowledges the practical issues involved with migrating large numbers of Storers onto new agreements.

FURTHER INFORMATION

If you would like further information on the UCT legislation or the Commission’s reports, Jackson Russell has a number of articles on their website on these issues:

http://www.jacksonrussell.co.nz/PUBLICATIONS/x_blog_uid/373/topic/Consumer+Law.html

Darryl King, Partner and Claire Godber, Senior Associate, Jackson Russell Lawyers


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