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Online contracts and ethical use of terms and conditions.

By The Paul

Ethical terms and conditions
What's up with all that legalese?
OK,OK! That’s an oxymoron.

Ethical terms and conditions are hard to define, one parties understanding may be different than the other parties understanding.

So here’s a question, I ask for a 1 page contract to do some business, I’m buying Irish potatoes and agree to a simple bill of sale, the potato salesman sends me a 1 page contract and asks me to initial something that sends me to someplace else to read and agree to another 6 pages of boilerplate.

Is this a 1 page contract? Or is it a 7 page contract? Is it ethical because initialing my 1 page contract I I read and agreed with another 6 pages.

Simple math 1+ 6 = 7, or does it?

Long, Long 1 page contracts.

If I took the terms and agreements from this 1 page potato contract my 1 page would have been 11 feet and 6 1/4 inches long. That a hell of a page.

Terms and conditions should be easy to find, you should not have to go to another site to find them. The only reason for anyone requiring you to do that is they hope you won’t go through the trouble.

Terms and Conditions should be easy.

One reason only exists for their being there, to protect the seller. But what about the buyer?

They protect the seller and allow abuse of these conditions to be easy. Details that are important become hidden in the boilerplate of this legalese . Some will require the user to check a box or click a button to signal their acceptance; this is how you can give up some rights.

Binding Terms and Conditions

For terms and conditions to be binding they have to be reasonable. A reasonable person would have to be reasonably told they exist. The problem is this can be argued and whoever has the most money for lawyers will win.

Ethics and Terms

Beyond just the legal stuffs,  hidden fees and terms for use are written into the legal mumbo jumbo, good for the seller and bad for the buyer, the seller is not partnering with you, they are locking you into a deal that serves their purposes.

Its misinformation carefully crafted to confuse, even lawyers can’t agree on what some of the terms and conditions really mean.

Fair policies are needed along with shorter contract terms and businesses need to promote ethical customer treatment. Vendors are aware the vast majority of customers don’t read the terms, not even when asked. How is this good for business?

Vendors should ask themselves if easy and ethical would be better for business,  there would be less for the lawyers to do. I wouldn’t worry about the lawyers as they seem to come up with new profit centers all the time.

I wonder if people could live with that?

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