Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reading the "Fine Print"

Signing up for anything online always requires you to agree to some sort of terms and conditions, and while many of us skip over this box, we still click “agree” as if we have read everything and understand what we are legally obligated to.
It is important to read everything in the terms and condition box so that you are aware of what happens if you void the contract, as well as if you are paying for services, what you are naturally entitled to.

Not reading the fine print in any situation can cause major problems. There are millions of people around the world who do not read the fine print when asked to, myself included, and we are putting ourselves at risk for multiple things. According to The Guardian, a British online journal, only 7% of Britons admitted to reading their online T&C’s when asked to. Why do we not take the time out to read the fine print, when we can practically sign our lives way, or encounter numerous fees?  Many online users report that the T&C’s are too lengthy, and that they are pretty much the same on every online site, such as shopping.

Reasons why you should always read T&C’s are lengthy, but the top three include:
  •  Fees associated with cancelation of the product.
  •  Your rights
  • Associated liabilities

So, if we are being legally bound to a contract when purchasing a good, why do we still not read the fine print? This is a question that I constantly ask myself as I click the button, just to get to what I actually want. In an interesting article on Fox News, as part of an April Fool’s joke, a company placed in their T&C’s that the customer would agree to “sell their souls” by agreeing to the contract. It was reported that 7,500 customers agreed to sell their souls. It is a funny trick to play, as they planned to contact the customers and make them aware of what they have agreed to, but it also shows that we as humans are so eager to sign our name on the dotted line, without knowing what we are getting ourselves into.

While I have read contracts before, and signed them, I do find that it is important to read everything involving your signature. My personal recommendations before agreeing to anything would be to,
  •  Know what you are signing.
  •  Look at all possibilities if you cancel.
  • If you do not understand what you are signing, seek counsel.

While many of us will continue to not read the print, hopefully you will be inspired to look through to see anything “fishy”, so that you don’t sell your soul. 

1 comment:

  1. This is so true. I have learned to read things before I sign things but I am still wrong for being lazy to read. your % for songs, bill payment dates and how they pull the money are in these paragraphs we chose not to read and working through internet channels for distribution. So for all of us please read before taking on new apps and guidelines to conduct business.