End User Agreements – Stealing customer rights with a sneak attack in the fine print

By | All Blog Posts, Observations, Philosophy, Politics, Thoughts | 43 Comments

Recently I have become more aware of the many “agreements” that companies use to try and take away the rights of users (and protect themselves from any liability). Almost every activity in this increasingly digital and legalistic world comes with attached fine print that tries to absolve the company of potential bad behavior. When you sign your credit-card slip at Best Buy or Fry’s, you waive all kinds of rights you get under consumer protection law. Of course if you actually stop to read these agreements, it is likely that your session will expire if your online or if your in the checkout line at Target the clerk will likely call the manager or even the police after the first hour or so of haggling (everyone should do this at least once a year – then they would stop doing it I’d wager). It would literally take all day to read, and ask questions (none of which the store clerk would be able to answer) about all the agreements in an average customers shopping cart. Since reading them all is not practical, and understanding them not possible, and negotiating them is NEVER possible – what to do? What’s the point of having rights (like fair use) if they can, and are, so easily swindled away? Read More