Read those terms before you click
“But nobody told me that!”
They really did.
And we have to be better online consumers if we don’t want to be caught in that trap.
The latest question was from a customer of one of the DNA companies complaining about a refund policy. I sent the reader the exact language of the policy. And got the expected reply: “that quoted policy is not provided to the consumers upon Contracting… ”
It really is.
But we have to read it.
So here’s the reminder, one more time:
And we make a big mistake when we simply toss a checkmark into the box that appears for us to indicate we’ve read, understand and agree to those terms… when in fact we haven’t read them, don’t understand them, and wouldn’t necessarily agree to them at all.
But, we might be thinking, if this is a set of rules, how can it be considered a contract? Nobody gave us a choice about the rules when we subscribed to, say, GenealogyBank.com or Ancestry.com or when we did a DNA test with, say, 23andMe.com, did they?
It’s a little like our relationship with the TSA. We don’t have to go through security at the airport. Of course, that means we don’t fly, either.
In every case… not so fast.
Read. Understand. And check only if we agree.
Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Not so fast!,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 10 Feb 2021).
- Henry Campbell Black, A Dictionary of Law (St. Paul, Minn. : West, 1891), 1204, “use.” ↩
- Wikipedia (https://www.wikipedia.com), “terms of service,” rev. 8 Dec 2020. ↩
Thaks Judy, wise words for the unwary.
Am I right in thinking that, at the Federal level, there’s no US equivalent to the UK’s Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973? Simply put, this Act says that if a term would not be seen as something that the consumer might reasonably expect to apply to a contract of that nature, the onus is on the supplier to draw attention to it, otherwise the contract or part of it may be voided. It’s not a substitute for stupidity or downright negligence on the part of a consumer, but it goes some way to protect against oppressive behaviour by some unscrupulous suppliers of services.
Obviously I appreciate that the majority of contract law in the US operates at the state level.