Are e-toll terms and conditions written in plain language?

In Plain Language? 

Some areas that create confusion in the document:

  1. There are 26 defined terms which makes the document difficult to understand.
  2. The use of acronyms like “ANPR” (automatic number plate recognition technology”, TCH (transaction clearing house), VLN (motor vehicle license plate number) and VPC (violations processing centre).
  3. The use of legalese.
  4. Using passive voice.
  5. Long and complicated sentences. 

Applying plain language will improve the clarity of the document. 

Examples:  

5. As a registered user, the user will be billed and will be liable for toll transactions recorded according to the user’s VLN or its e-tag.” 

In Plain Language: You must pay toll fees for your vehicle’s licence plate number or e-tag. 

6.6. The user understands and agrees that its liability to incur toll arises when its motor vehicle passes a tolling point. The amount of toll is calculated with reference to the tolling point and not with reference to kilometres travelled before the user reached the tolling point.” 

In Plain Language: You must pay the toll fee. The toll fee is determined when you pass a tolling point. The kilometres you travel do not determine the toll fee. 

By Michele van Eck

Michele has a BComm in business management and law, as well as an LLB and an LLM. With specialized qualifications in corporate and contractual law, Michele writes for De Rebus and has co-authored articles for TSAR (a journal for South African law).

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