How Important is it to Read Terms of Service on Websites?

People tend to skip over Terms of Service and just run into things. The same goes for any End User License Agreement. People do not expect to run into problems or anything that might be in conflict with the said terms or licenses.

Once you get a dose of reality in your face and find that your wallet is emptier is probably a wrong time to start thinking about license agreements and terms of service. It is not too late, however, as repeating the same mistakes can easily be avoided, or ever making them, for that matter.

The Obvious Parts – The Large Print

More often than not, license agreements and terms of service are straightforward even though they can be hidden behind a wall of text. Some terms and agreements are very point blank about what they require you to do. Promotional codes are a great example, as online gambling has evolved to be the shining light in the world of licenses and terms.

Take online sports betting at Sugarhouse, for example, and look at the advertisement. It says that you can win money for free and get up to a 250 dollar bonus. After reading the terms, you find out that you can get free money right after creating your account and double anything you deposit, up to 250 dollars. There are also terms regarding the misuse of bonus codes, and any player found doing so will lose their bets. Promotional codes are great at attracting customers, but they also take good care to protect the casinos, especially from endlessly sharing promotional codes or creating fake accounts.

The in Between – The Small Print

A study from Johnatan Obar of the York University of Toronto and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch of the University of Connecticut found that students tend to click to agree before even reading a contract. In this study, they joined a virtual social network called NameDrop and agreed to give their firstborn child to the company, which was stated in an article of the terms of service.

Similarly, people agree to have their data sold or used as a company likes and even hand their rights over should something go wrong, so that they cannot go to court. These things happen because there are license agreements which are 10 pages long and take up to half an hour to read and they are obligatory at that. These kinds of agreements have been present for a long time and people have learned to click yes or I agree before even stopping to look at the fine print.

Reading the terms of service or license agreements is important, for websites and anything else. You should know what you are getting into, whenever you click yes or I agree.

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