When we purchase the latest hi-tech gadgets, we tend to toss aside the accompanying reading materials like the terms and conditions.
Or when it comes to signing a new lease for an apartment, some of us immediately scroll to the dotted line to leave our John Hancock without reading all of the fine print.
Whether they're contracts or literature that come with purchased products, do we ever really bother to read the detailed policies?
In an era of instant gratification, who has the time? But what we really should be asking is, what are we missing out on?
For those who do practice their due diligence, they may find some fascinating information – and in some cases, are rewarded for it.
Curious about what others have found while perusing through the nitty gritty, Redditor Dunnaghlasman asked:
"PPG (paint company) does not allow their paint to be used on terrorist, biohazard or nuclear facilities."
Sign First, Discuss Later
"I was asked to sign a petition for something that I generally was in agreement with, until I read the last part of it, that read something like, 'the chairman of the committee reserves the right to change the wording of this petition.'"
"So it was like, 'sign here, and we'll figure out what you signed later.'"
"You cannot use the Java programming language to control a nuclear reactor."
"I read the terms and conditions for either Windows 95 or the Windows 98 upgrade. Somewhere buried deep in the middle was a warning that the operating system should not be used to operate a nuclear power plant. I'm assuming it was a joke because it was an individually licensed product rather than a corporate license, and if they were serious about it, I would think that warning would be at the top!"
Beware of Hacks
"For no reason at all I read them for a PlayStation Network update. About the 7th page in, it stated that I would be 'relinquishing my wallet and all funds within.' I didn't update but just assumed it was fancy legal talk(mind you I was in my late teens) so I didn't report it. 3 days later I found out that the update was a hack and thousands had their information stole of their PlayStation accounts."
"My daycare's release form had a clause saying that by signing, I was giving them permission to take my kids to Canada. Canada is a day's drive away and there is absolutely no reason they would ever need to take my kids there. I crossed it off before signing."
"My mortgage documents included a clause that says that, if I ever get sued, they have the right to accelerate the loan and demand payment of the entire remaining balance. It doesn't matter if the law suit is meritorious. Just getting sued can lead to acceleration."
Property of Elon Musk
"You never own the Tesla you pay for."
The Tesla Ownership Explained
"Tesla, (and to various extents, other anti-right-to-repair companies like Mercedes, Apple, John Deere, etc.) hold that their products are intellectual property and cannot be owned by customers, instead claiming that they are effectively leased to buyers."
"Tesla has on on multiple occasions (illegally) disabled features of cars being sold used because of this."
"On my apartment rent agreement, there was one part that basically said: If you (the renter) dies then your family is responsible for paying the rest of the rent left on your contract."
"Accordingly to Photoshop ToS, you can't use Photoshop as a verb and must say 'edited with Photoshop' or similar instead of 'Photoshopped.' In Spanish it's common to use it as a verb, 'photoshoppear.'"
The Canadian Obstacle
"I'm an auto mechanic, I regularly purchase tools from tool trucks. Sometimes there's little giveaways if you spend x amount you get this scratch off ticket that could win you something blah blah."
"One time I was reading the fine print at the bottom, usual legalese stuff then the last line cracked me up - said something like 'residents of Canada will be required to complete a series of mathematical questions in order to claim their prize.'"
"What the hell did Canada do to require being punished to win a prize?"
Reading Has Rewards
"The terms and conditions for the rewards card at the grocery store I worked had 'if you've actually taken the time to read this, please email (email) with this code and the pin for your card for $500 in rewards points.'"
"And it actually did, then I started getting a new card every other month or so. Then they changed who the rewards program was with."
"The company I work for has emergency store closure procedures for in case of a zombie outbreak."
"When I discovered it I laughed and asked my boss why they put this joke in with all these serious guidelines. She was dead serious when she explained that this was a real procedure and you honestly never know. I thought she was messing with me. Apparently, I never noticed it printed in out backroom. It's required to be printed and posted in the backroom of all the company's stores."
The Gym Contract
"I read the terms and conditions before joining a gym. It said the only reason you could cancel your membership is if you moved out of the area or got injured and had a note from a doctor. Otherwise, you had to give 30 days' notice and pay 3 additional months' worth of fees. I did not join."
Canada's Got Talent ... and All Eyes On You
"I considered auditioning for the first season of Canada's Got Talent. I got the contract for auditions and read the fine print."
"'You will pay your own room, board and travel. You agree to being on camera 24/7. We can listen to your private phone calls. We can enter your room at any time to check on you and record it.'"
"I noped out of that audition fast."
"I read the warranty for my motherboard once. It said it does not cover damage from bodily fluids including urine and vomit."
In Case of an Apocalypse
"One of my old jobs said that if there was ever a contagion that resulted in people losing their minds and acting like violent, mindless, swarming animals (i.e. zombies or infected) then we would be expected to hide in bunkers, rescue our clients and not kill anyone."
Spybot S&D asks that you send the devs beer money.
Also, I'm on mobile and too lazy to Google. I got more of this thread to read first and I'll probably forget about this before I'm done.
You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, missiles, or chemical or biological weapons.
This is from the Terms and Conditions for Apple's iTunes.
To the Cinema
Ts and Cs for a cinema in the UK. After purchasing a ticket and choosing your seat/seats the cinema doesn't guarantee you the seats you have chosen will be available and you are encouraged to find a different seat if the one on your ticket is taken.
Alls not Wells
You can always trust Wells Fargo to serve up some real bull crap. This article shows where they screwed some people in their mortgage terms and conditions, and also briefly mentions their debit card scam.
Well this is getting some attention so I'll just leave this old gem here as well:
READ FIRSTpaid pay day GIFGiphy
So I know a few years back there was a report of a dude who read through the whole thing and actually earned a cash prize for reading it in the fine print.
I don't know the exact details. not even sure if its true or not but maybe someone has evidence.
WordWeb free version may be used indefinitely only by people who take at most two commercial flights (not more than one return flight) in any 12 month period. People who fly more than this need to purchase the Pro version if they wish to continue to use it after a 30-day trial period. que_pedo_wey
It's probably best to actually read them, but I really like using this site where they essentially provide you a TL;DR of terms & conditions from popular websites. They also grade sites on how shady their terms may be.
There was a Windows update about 15-20 years ago that had a clause buried in the EULA that you agree not to release any benchmarking figures. What really sticks in my mind though is that I used to submit a lot of stories to Slashdot at the time, and for some reason they wouldn't report that. Weird.
Listen to Aesop
This isn't quite the same, but when I was a kid I had a really cool, creepy picture book that was a satire of Aesop's fables called Squids Will Be Squids, with morals like "if someone calls and asks where your mother is, don't tell them she is out getting her moustache bleached" etc etc. Anyway, one day I was reading the small print publication stuff you get in the front of every book and there's a note from the author's in it about why nobody ever reads that page, with the moral that "you should always read the small print." Which of course I now do (for books at least), although tbf there has yet to be a payoff as good as that one.
Steamed....morning steam GIFGiphy
Technically Steam owns any and all games that you "purchase" from them. What you purchase is basically a copy of one of their games, and they reserve the right to access your library and do whatever.
because they can
Discord's Terms of Service are worded in such a way that they can literally say whatever they want is a breach of contract on a whim.
Discord can decide you have broken the Term's of Service however they so choose. You can have an entire server dedicated to something harmless, say, puppy photos, and they have the capacity to do whatever it is their punishments and sanctions propose because they can.
Save the fur babies....
I have dog shampoo that says "this product not tested on animals." But why not? How do you know it works?? Purposely putting cosmetics in an animal's eyes, or forcing them to ingest it or whatever is cruel and unnecessary. But how are you supposed to know that this dog shampoo is a safe and effective way to clean a dog if you've never tested it by using it to wash a dog??
Not really a TOS, but the old Doom II for DOS had this screen saying that if you pirated the game, you would go to hell. It would show up after you exit the game. The first Doom also had a similar screen, lol
I think in my country there is a general law that terms and conditions must be "reasonable" so that conditions like "giving away your first born" does not apply anyway.
Trouble is, reasonable means whatever you can convince a jury and or judge is reasonable. So it comes down to who has better lawyers i.e more money.
Buried Deepglow treasure chest GIF by gfaughtGiphy
I was searching for a web host for my website and found a discount code buried in the content policy. It was pretty neat, even if they were the kind of place that has at least 3 discounts available at a time.
Not exactly weird but when I was buying my car insurance they asked if I had been in any previous accidents (I was) and if I was at fault (I was not). Said rates would only go up if the accident was my fault. Okay cool. So at the end when I'm looking everything over, I notice in the fine print that it says any accidents are automatically considered the driver's fault unless proven otherwise... so I send them an email and ask.
Basically they said I'd have to purchase the policy, THEN contact them with the proof that I wasn't at fault for the accident. So I bought the policy, went to my state's DMV website to get the accident report, and email it to the insurance company- one week later I get "refunded" about 1/5 of the policy cost credited to my account. I wonder how many people they've ripped off.
Once I installed an App, I think it was a game, asked me to edit, add, delete or format everything from my google drive.
The same app had other horrible terms with other apps, like with Facebook, or Instagram (basically buy your personal info from Mark).
G-suite and everything.
It was when I was setting up android work profile (The high school I'm attending rn issued us emails that route the emails through their servers) for online school. G-suite and everything. I couldn't rlly avoid the work profile thing cuz android wanted me to set it up.
Enough with context here.
I downloaded google device policy to set this up and I saw, and I quote.
"Administrators on this domain can have access to any and all data on your phone."
I was like, Hell no! They do random phone searches of the students already why give them full access!?
I then decided to do the online class stuff on my computer and do it web-based instead of giving them full access to my phone.
Lunar TermsBeopen Aeropex GIF by AfterShokzGiphy
Apple's terms and conditions have plenty of jokes in them. They even made one about faking the moon landing.
Having a ToS
The school app for a district I worked in had a ToS that essentially said that I agreed to their accessing anything on my phone or deleting what they choose, as well as using anything they find on my phone as evidence against me if they so choose to.access any other apps, documents, downloads, photos, etc... Co-workers said I was being paranoid, but the ToS for the same app in a different district had no such notation, so I don't know.
These are a few paraphrased versions of what I had to sign in order to live on campus at my university:
I give my school permission to charge me legal fees that have nothing to do with me. They also say everyone I know has given up the right to sue the school. They can kick me out at anytime with little warning, and if I do not leave with in a few days I have to pay a +$100 fee. They are not responsible for working amenities such as water. I am aware the school does not own there own dorms, even though the office that handles room and board claims otherwise.
Don't remember the exact wording, but some League-of-Legends-type game included this whole paragraph about how, by installing this software, you authorize us to monitor every process on your computer, including but not limited to keystrokes, active programs, some of their memory, browser tabs, open files and potentially their contents, and send that info back, at all times, even if the game wasn't running.
Safe to assume I did not click agree, and managed to live life having never played that game.
I found out our five year contract for argon gas automatically renews if we don't cancel 365 days before the end date. A salesman was fired from the company and told me I should read the very fine print. One year in and we sent our our cancellation form for 2024.
take the spirit....wes craven ral GIFGiphy
Gamestation (an old video game store in the UK) had an immortal soul clause. They own thousands of peoples souls!
On the Menu
I read ingredients at back of the container (shampoo,creams,food etc) because I don't have anything better to do. But I know how they scam people. Read the ingredients people.
Sign Off Please
You agree by signing this contract to have your personal information including but not limited to, photographs, public information, address and email to be shared with third parties that may not be disclosed to you.
This was to allow a company I engaged with to send me regular products for testing and giving feedback on prior to going on the open market.
The ReadMe File
Not quite Terms & Conditions, but an old-school PC space simulator game from 1995 called Tachyon: The Fringe had a unique ReadMe file. At the bottom of the ReadMe file is a few words of congratulations, and a set of coordinates for a fat stack of space cash for the late game.
Set in Stonethat's all folks GIFGiphy
That even if you haven't read the terms and conditions you still agree to them. This is pretty common for websites where they are buried in the site, but by going to the homepage you've automatically agreed to them.
WHILE REDDIT ATTEMPTS TO MAKE YOUR ACCESS TO AND USE OF OUR SERVICES SAFE, WE DO NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT OUR SERVICES OR SERVERS ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
It's not weird in a way that it shouldn't be there, just unexpected.
Also not reddit afaik, but a lot of ToS tell they have the right to give certain of your information to companies and Google is ALWAYS there.
Oh and if anyone uses one of those Do Not Track signals, companies don't give a crap about that and say that in other words in their privacy policies.
Left Without Power
I'm taking a cyberlaw and ethics course and this has been a focal point of the class. Terms and conditions leave you basically Powerless and unable to hold companies liable. There were terms and conditions on a site that literally said by accepting the terms, you would give them your first born child. Granted I believe it was a joke or experiment to see how long they could leave it in there unnoticed.
Amazon still sucks.
Not me, but when my sister was applying for a warehouse job at Amazon, she spotted a section that stated that Amazon owned all the rights for all intellectual property and products created by the employee for an indefinite amount of time even after leaving the job. In another section, there was something saying that you couldn't say anything bad about the company online or in private, again, for an indefinite amount of time even after leaving the job. Amazon still sucks.
Want my blood too....
We were interested in purchasing a house, and sent the Contract of Sale to our conveyancer as a final 'rubber stamp' before signing.
They quickly got back to us, pointing out a clause buried in the Contract. It said that we agree to forfeiting our cooling off period and all 'subject to building/pest/structural inspection' rights, and that we agreed we must proceed with the purchase no matter what. Even if the house was rotted with termites, or the vendor had blatantly hid some structural fault, they could legally 'force' us to proceed with the purchase.
The conveyancer said that the vendor's legal firm had a reputation of putting these hidden nasties in their Contracts, so she knew to scrutinize every word as soon as she saw their name on it.
Needless to say, we didn't proceed with the purchase.
A lot of chrome extensions give the developer access to your drive. This is an issue for many education extensions during remote learning. I successfully stopped my school from using one platform over another due to this issue as well.
You're Still a Feastfail april fools day GIF by CheezburgerGiphy
I read the waiver at an indoor paintball place one time. It covered everything you'd think it would cover, but that wasn't all. Insect bites and stings. Attacks from wild animals "such as bears, etc" (yes, it specified bears), and dangers such as guides incorrectly navigating rapids.
All of these things were covered.
The experience did not live up to what the waiver implied.
Is Thou Art?
In this app called PopJam in the TOS it says that the developers can freely use any art you post on the app. Kinda screwed me up for a while but I saw some user's art on the appstore banners (with the users in question credited) so it probably just means that they can "show it off" without per but still-
Always be sure to read the fine print or do a quick Google search to make sure you're not selling away your soul... or your voice.
Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments below.