What’s Lurking Within the Legal Fine Print

If you’ve ever ticked the “I accept terms and conditions” box without reading, this one is for you!

Let’s be honest. We are all guilty of it. You’re going through some relatively trivial online form or gym sign-up or fun-run enrollment. You’ve only got a few minutes to spare before you have to pick up the kids, get back to work etc. So when you see that little box “I accept terms and conditions” you tick it, right? But how many of you out there are actually reading the terms you are agreeing to be bound by?

In basic contract law, you are legally bound by ticking this box to those terms and conditions. In the event that something goes belly-up, it does not matter at all that you did not read through those terms. They will be enforced because, by clicking that “accept” button or ticking the box you have accepted to be bound.

So what are the sorts of things that can be hidden in these terms and conditions? A good example is the old disclaimer of liability, used with particular frequency in certain obstacle course type events. “In the event that you are injured in any way whilst undertaking this event, Company X will not be liable in any way, shape or form. The participant accepts that Company X will not be liable and that the participant has no right to claim compensation from Company X in the event of injury to the participant, even where such injury is caused by the act or omission of Company X”. Or how about this “Company X will not be liable in the event of your death if it occurs during the obstacle course”

With the rise of more and more dangerous obstacles involving electrocution, heights, and other hazards, it may come as no shock that such clauses are included. Yes there are ways of challenging some of these disclaimer clauses however the process can often be time-consuming and stressful, increasing pressure on you and your family. The underlying assumption though is that you have read these terms and that by signing/clicking “accept”/ticking a box you have agreed to be bound by them.

Take the extra time, read the terms. You might be surprised what’s lurking there…