Who Owns Your Soul…Do You Read Terms and Conditions?
It’s a well-known fact that most of us don’t read the lengthy Terms and Conditions that accompany online purchases and software installations. To illustrate the point, GameStation created played an April Fools joke on its customers that resulted in thousands of its shoppers to sign over their souls to the company.
As is common with many online retailers, GameStation asks users to agree to Terms and Conditions in order to complete a sale. On April 1, the immortal soul clause was added. It read:
“By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions.”
Users were given the opportunity to check a box that would remove the clause and receive a £5 credit. However, only 12% of the customers actually took GameStation up on the offer, leading the company to believe that 88% of customers bother reading the T&C’s.
I’ll admit that I rarely read T&C’s when making trivial online purchases or installing software. While I know that I should read stuff before agreeing to it, online retailers and software developers put an undue burden on its customers by stuffing T&C’s with legalese that’s all but impossible for the average shopper to decipher.
The result is that customers often ‘agree’ to things that they wouldn’t agree to if they were clearly spelled out. What’s wrong with telling customers in big bold print that buying or installing something will install a toolbar, result in recurring payments or steal your soul?
As tech-savvy consumers, do you always read terms and conditions?