Back on August 20, the Times published John Aloysius Cogan's op-ed piece, Plain English Is the Best Policy about the unintelligibility of health insurance policies. My letter appeared on Friday, under the heading "No More Gobbledygook:
To the Editor:
Re “Plain English Is the Best Policy” (Op-Ed, Aug. 20):
John Aloysius Cogan Jr. complains that insurance policies are incomprehensible, but many other consumer contracts suffer from the same defect. Ever try to read a credit card contract?
We should require companies using consumer contracts longer than, say, four pages to test what percentage of consumers understand them, and then post their scores in their ads. Maybe businesses would compete for better comprehension scores by using easier-to-understand terms.
Jamaica, Queens, Aug. 20, 2009
The writer is a professor of law at St. John’s University and co-coordinator of the Consumer Law and Policy Blog.