And many hotels/guest houses still have a notice such as this as do car parks after you have paid.....
As your quoted commentary said, Olley
is technically only about exclusion clauses (clauses that act to limit or exclude the other party's liability), but, in truth, it makes a wider point. If you didn't have the opportunity of encountering a clause until you've reached the agreement that forms the contract, that clause isn't part of the contract because it wasn't part of what you agreed. However, if you had the chance of finding out but you didn't take it, for example by not reading terms and conditions you could view before agreeing to them, that's your look out - the clause is a valid and active part of the contract.
I brought Olley
up here because BT cannot hold a customer to a new or extended minimum contract period for taking up a free additional service unless they included a new minimum contract period as part of the terms and conditions for that service. A statement that some customers will have to agree to an extended contract period (or similar) is insufficient, as it doesn't give a basis upon which an individual customer can know where they stand. Being told about an extended minimum contract period after agreement was reached is no good as agreement has already been reached.
The notices you typically see in hotel rooms these days invokes the Hotel Proprietors Act 1956
. Section 2 of that Act
permits hotels to limit their liability in various ways.
My opinion of the private parking companies is very low - many of them try to get away with things that are unenforceable, relying on the fact that most people will not know they are unenforceable. The case that led up to Interfoto
related to a car park: in Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking Ltd
 2 QB 163, a man drove up to the automated barrier in a car park, which issued him a ticket. There was a notice outside the car park giving the charges and stating cars were parked at their owner's risk. On the back of the ticket, it said that the ticket was issued subject to terms and conditions displayed on the premises, which were posted next to the machine. The man was injured in the car park when picking up his car.
The Court of Appeal noted that you couldn't see the terms and conditions until you'd taken the ticket from the machine, agreeing to the charges posted outside the car park, thereby forming the contract. As such, applying Olley
, these terms were not part of the contract. That left the clause about cars being parked at their owner's risk, which would prevent the man's claim from succeeding. As Lord Denning noted, that clause was "so wide and so destructive of rights" that it could only be held against the man if most explicit notice had been drawn to it before contract formation. This exclusion clause was therefore held to be of no effect.
Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking
only applied to exclusion clauses, but the principle that explicit attention must be drawn to onerous clauses before contract formation was extended to all contractual clauses in Interfoto
I'd argue that BT's imposition of a new minimum term for the broadband service when a customer waits to take up their entitlement to a free additional service is very onerous, so it must be drawn clearly to the customer's attention to allow the customer to make an informed choice. Had the customer taken up the additional service from the beginning of the initial minimum contract period, they'd have had the advantage of that service for longer, it would have cost BT's resources to provide it earlier, and they'd be entitled to leave BT without charge at the same time as someone who didn't take up the service.
Losing the right to leave BT could be costly. It could hold a customer to paying for services they no longer wanted or could get elsewhere more cheaply, maybe for an entire year (or is it 18 months?).