Web site Terms and Conditions are bollocks

Read carefully or you might invalidate the guarantee

Read carefully or you might invalidate the guarantee

Today I bought a plant sprayer. A fairly simple plastic bottle with a plunger to compress air and a trigger to spray a fine mist over plants. Getting it home I took off the top to fill it up and found a 12 page instruction leaflet inside. 12 pages in about 10 ten different languages. The leaflet included a guarantee which was voided if the thing was not used in accordance with the instructions.

All this for a plastic plant sprayer.

This reminds me of an incident in the media last year where a man bought a ticket from one destination to another. The train stopped at an intermediate station and for some reason could go no further. The man got off the train and tried to exit the station to finish his journey by alternative means. The ticket inspector refused to accept his ticket and he was fined for not having a valid ticket. Yes, this happened, and some imbecile railway official was interviewed on the radio and pointed out that the man had bought the ticket over The Internet and had therefore been fully informed of the terms and conditions which state “No break of journey is permitted in either direction”.

The spokesman said that the he must have been aware of this condition as would have had to tick the box indicating that he had read and understood the terms and conditions.

When we make a purchase we are entering a contract with another person or company. Most countries have general laws about sales but often a contract is implied. However, modern technology allows the supplier to write reams of conditions and present them to the buyer at the last moment. The buyer is then expected to read these, consider them carefully and tick a box to indicate acceptance. This is bollocks!

A quick perusal of The Web uncovered a generic web site Terms and Conditions document made available by SEQ LEGAL LLP. The document is intended to for use in in relation to “websites with common kinds of interactive features, such as blogs, bulletin boards, forums and chat rooms”. The document runs to seven pages and the first sentence reads: “These terms and conditions govern your use of our website; by using our website, you accept these terms and conditions in full.”

The process of presenting a person with seven pages of legalistic nonsense just seconds before he engages in an activity has been enabled by modern technology without any thought of whether this is reasonable or even legal. If we accept this sort of bollocks then companies will use it more and more.

It’s bad enough that pubs now have bouncers on the doors but pretty soon you will be required to swipe a card or text a number to signify that you agree to the pubs Ts & Cs.

As for the specific condition of Southern Railway that “No break of journey is permitted in either direction” – this is obvious bollocks. What are we passengers or kidnap victims?

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One thought on “Web site Terms and Conditions are bollocks

  1. Excellent excellent point. I accept these things without thinking. I guiltily tick the box without reading the terms and think that I am somehow not fulfilling my responsibility.
    You are right! This process is unreasonable!

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