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Too damned many terms and conditions to agree to …

I’ve done much of my Christmas shopping on-line. Every Web site operator and his brother has custom terms and conditions for which you have to click “I agree” before you can place your order.

Some folks probably don’t bother reading these T&Cs. But (with some exceptions) courts generally hold you to the terms whether you’ve read them or not.

Most of these T&Cs are largely the same. I wonder how much time gets spent on re-reading the same T&Cs, phrased differently.

The whole purpose of the Uniform Commercial Code was to eliminate this kind of transaction cost. Ray Nimmer was on the right track in pushing UCITA; it’s a shame his effort got derailed.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Sam Aparicio 2009-12-24, 11:31

    What do you think of the idea of creating “Creative Commons” versions of these standard contracts? Why would something like that not catch on?

  • D. C. Toedt 2009-12-24, 15:58

    Sam, I’ve been collecting terms of service for some time now and eventually hope to synthesize them into a compendium – then maybe there can be some labeled standards. But unless consumer pressure to adopt standard terms of service were to develop somehow (and I can’t see that happening), I doubt companies will see any reason to change what they’re doing now.

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