Why It's Important To Read Terms and Conditions


Have you ever actually read the terms and conditions before signing up to a website or ordering something online? These long, wordy documents are a form of consumer protection designed to make sure we're fully informed when we agree to an online contract. They're supposed to ensure that we'e are making a conscious decision to sign up for a service with full knowledge of the consequences. Unfortunately, surveys have shown that a whopping 91% of U.S. users don't bother reading the terms and conditions. Instead, they simply click on the "agree" button on go on their way. The reason for that is because the text is often as long as a Shakespeare play and written to be understood by an attorney, not by your everyday Internet user. The problem is, if users don’t understand the implications of what they're agreeing to, they may not be aware of just how much control the service provider is asserting over their content or the extent to which their information is being mined and traded. So, are terms and conditions enforceable in civil and criminal court? A legitimate terms of service agreement is legally binding between the parties who agree to it, but there are a few things that can make terms of service agreements unenforceable. One of the most common unenforceable terms is the unilateral amendment provision, which gives a company the right to change its agreement however it wants, whenever it wants, with or without notifying its customers. Courts have repeatedly found this term unenforceable. "Browsewrap agreements", which customers passively agree to just by browsing a website or using a service, don’t hold up in court either. Sadly, pretty much everything else is enforceable. So, the next time you're challenged to agree to terms and service, you might want to read through it before agreeing.