Over the past several decades, the preferred model for consumer protection in most countries has emphasized a notice and consent (or choice) approach with less emphasis on normative laws that prohibit or mandate certain contract terms, acts or practices. In this essay, I argue that it is time for consumer advocates and policy makers to recognize that a notice and consent approach to standard contract terms and conditions is not likely to protect consumer interests in modern day contractual settings. Indeed, policy makers are doing more harm than good by continuing to focus on notice and consent, thereby giving a misleading impression that consumer interests are being protected when they are not. Moreover, by adhering to a notice and consent regime, they avoid discussing the more difficult yet most fundamental questions about what commercial practices should be permitted and which should be banned.
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