Top 3 reasons why no one reads the Terms & Conditions
What are the reasons that explain this behavior?
1. Time: 76 workdays a year!
A paper published in the Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society revealed that privacy policies on the 75 most popular websites have 2.514 words on average. This article estimated that every American visits 1,462 sites a year. In other words, reading every them for every site we use could cost us 76 workdays!
And we are only talking about privacy policies. If we add the Terms & Conditions, you can kiss a lot of free time goodbye!
Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) are written in legalese incomprehensible for the uninitiated. Researchers from the Boston College Law applied readability tests and detected an average clarity rating comparable to that of university magazines, when T&Cs are intended for the general public.
After reviewing 500 T&Cs, their conclusion was striking: 14.67 years of study are necessary, on average, to decipher the content, in other words, a university degree. This implies that a large part of the population, and potentially the most vulnerable (young people and less educated people), could not understand what they have to consent to access these platforms.
An intentional complexity?
Sometimes you have to wonder if this complexity is not intentional …
These are documents created by law firms to protect companies from legal action. Making their reading painful implies they aren’t looked at too closely. However, they contain the rights of the buyer, as well as the directives and rules to follow and accept in order to be able to profit from the product. It is therefore essential that he can understand them.
3. Resignation: We have no choice!
It is easy to conclude that anyone wanting to use the products offered by the Tech giants is unable to negotiate. Can these contracts be refused? No, if you absolutely want to use online services.
There is, therefore, a huge imbalance between the company which writes its own terms and conditions with the help of its lawyers, and the isolated user, who has neither the time to read them, nor the capacity to understand them, nor the ease of changing them.
If you want to take a look at why you should understand the T&Cs, take a look at this article!