I recently went to an event which offered a cloakroom to leave one’s belongings. As I prepared to disrobe my heavy winter coat and count up the number of bags to be left ( as they were going to be charging for every single item!) my eye caught a big sign which stated in big bold letters: “NO LIABILITY IS ACCEPTED FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE TO YOUR PROPERTY!” Putting my lawyers hat on, I couldn’t help thinking that effectively we could all be leaving our precious belongings in the supposed care of the cloakroom attendant ,come back hours later to find them gone and there would be absolutely nothing we could do about it! They had indeed disclaimed all liability.
I asked people in the queue for the cloakroom whether they had seen the sign and whether they were still willing to leave their property? Every single person had and each just shrugged sheepishly and said they would –after all , what could go wrong? I can tell you what could go wrong: the attendant could get bored, pop off for a coffee, someone could walk into the cloakroom, make off with your laptop bag and coat and have a field day.
What is it that makes people not truly read the legal small print even if it is in bold letters? Would they have behaved the same way if they were handing their child over to a nanny who wore a big sign on her lapel stating : I do not accept liability for loss or injury to your child”? I think not!