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Make manuals simple, says government

Manufacturers must rationalise warnings

Information on product packs is often too long and complicated for people to bother reading, new research says.

One toaster manual was found to contain 50 different safety warnings, according to a joint report from the Department for Business (BERR) and the National Consumer Council.

Another example of excessive information was a store card agreement form which took researchers more than an hour to read.

Need to know risks

BERR has announced measures to help consumers understand the potential dangers and risks of their purchases.

These include testing information on consumers before it appears on products.

Giving businesses more freedom to decide how they provide information is another of the measures.

Power to consumers

Business Secretary John Hutton said: ‘We are acting to give the power back to consumers to make informed choices by rationalising information and making sure it is presented as simply as possible.’

National Consumer Council (NCC) chief executive Ed Mayo said: ‘Consumers would welcome a common sense approach. Too much of what’s provided is turgid and confusing.’

The joint BERR and NCC report is called Too Much Information Can Harm.

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