Updated · Mar 22, 2023
Why You Should Read Terms and Conditions [7 Reasons]
Updated · Jan 27, 2023
Every time you download an app, visit a website, or sign up for a new service online, you accept the company’s Terms and Conditions.
These pages may be the least-read texts that exist in the online world but there are important reasons why you should read terms and conditions agreements.
What Is a Terms and Conditions Agreement?
A terms and conditions (ToS) agreement is a document that defines the rules for the use of a website, an app, or any other similar tool.
If you’ve spent some time in the online world, then you’ve probably seen or read about a ToS agreement.
Some sites present a pop-up or a landing page for every visitor and/or customer that requires them to agree to the terms and conditions. This is called a “clickwrap agreement.”
However, most websites work with a “browsewrap agreement” in that they don’t prompt viewers to agree to anything, but have a terms and conditions page somewhere on the website, often buried at the bottom of the home page.
These typically display a notice on their site (check the fine print too), explaining to users that if they continue to use the site, they agree to their terms and agreement.
Make no mistake– the ToS agreement aims to protect the website and its owners.
Despite that, an alarming percentage of users don’t read the terms and conditions of the websites and apps they use.
In 2018, Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch at the University of Connecticut and Jonathan Obar at York University in Toronto conducted a study to figure out how easy it is to con consumers. They created a fake website and wrote up a terms and conditions agreement that stated users would need to give up their firstborn child as payment, among other similarly bizarre details.
A whopping 98% of participants clicked “I Agree.”
7 Reasons Why You Should Read Terms and Conditions
If you’re wondering why should i read terms and conditions agreements, here are the answers:
User data allows websites and social media to offer everyone a personalized experience when they go online, but it comes at a cost.
Websites can keep your data for a certain amount of time, sometimes even after you’ve deleted your account, analyze it to better understand their audience (you), and even sell it to third parties.
And if you want to know what exactly a website or a company does with the data it collects on you and how to opt-out, you will find it in their ToS agreement.
Understand the Extent of Your Relationship With the Company
In most ToS agreements, this takes up the better portion of the document. It explains who can use their service, how, and any other conditions that may apply.
For example, some websites can have different rules for individual customers and businesses.
Learn More About the Website/App
Every terms and conditions document contains information about the website or company that is following it.
Reading it will help you figure out who owns the company, where it’s located, and what kinds of laws can affect it. A ToS document also explains what a site is primarily used for.
For instance, YouTube’s ToS agreement explains that it’s a platform where users can watch, find, and share videos and similar content.
Some sites also explain when the ToS takes effect.
Learn the Way the Service Works
Terms and conditions agreements explain the way the website or service works and what rules you have to comply with to use the site.
You might find information on your eligibility for some free products and promotions, how the site can waive your rights, and how they can make changes to their services.
These agreements also cover the conditions that apply to your use of the website or service and may define the permission you grant when uploading content to that website.
Understand How to Deal With Complaints
A terms and conditions agreement contains information about the company’s promises regarding the service they provide, details about any warranties that may exist, and how you can report any complaints you may have about the service or the products they sell.
For instance, NordVPN, one of the best VPNs on the market, promises a 99.9% service uptime and points out that it’s not liable for any loss “beyond what the client paid.”
Avoid Extra Fees
Terms and conditions documents have a separate payment and billing section.
This section explains how they charge for their services and/or products and other details that can help you better understand how payment on the site works, such as whether the prices include all applicable taxes or any charges by payment processors.
Some ToS documents might include money-back guarantees as well.
Understand Your Legal Rights
A ToS agreement is a legally binding document. As such, it lays out both the company’s and the user’s rights and obligations.
It typically lists the laws and regulations that apply when there’s a dispute, to what extent they’re applicable, and how you can resolve legal issues.
For instance, some companies note in the ToS agreements that disputes are resolved through binding arbitration rather than a lawsuit.
Why Is It Important for Companies to Write Terms and Conditions?
Terms and conditions agreements are crucial in minimizing the company’s liability.
Most agreements feature a disclaimer or a clause that aims to lessen the business’s liability from errors in the site’s content and insulate the website from user-generated content.
Companies also use ToS agreements to communicate rules and reproduction and copying of content, prevent abuse, and reduce legal complications by stating what laws apply in the event of a legal dispute.
Terms and Conditions Requirements
Here’s what you need to include in a Terms and Conditions agreement:
- Privacy clause: To inform users about the amount and type of information that the site collects and whether they share it with third parties.
- Content clause: To explain how the content on the site can and cannot be used, and the type of content users can upload.
- Termination clause: To inform the user when and how they can stop using the service, when the website can delete a user’s account or stop providing services, and whether it’s obliged to notify the user about the termination cause.
- Law compliance: To explain where the business operates, what laws it must follow, and what laws will apply in case of a legal dispute.
If you’re looking for best practices on how to create a ToS for your website, here are the best terms-of-use generators on the market.
A terms and conditions agreement is a legally binding contract between the user and a service that is binding as soon as you click “Accept” under the “Do you agree to the terms and conditions?” question when joining a website. This document is important to go through because it lays out what information the website collects on you, what users you need to follow, and how to handle disputes.
Why do we need to read the terms and conditions?
What happens when you don't read the terms and conditions?
The consequences of not reading terms and conditions may include locking yourself in a contract longer than expected, having to pay more than what you believed you were agreeing to, and having your data sold to third parties.
Why you should read terms and conditions agreements?
Reading the terms and conditions agreement will help minimize any surprises, understand the rules of the site and your legal rights.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
Latest from Author
Your email address will not be published.
Updated · Mar 21, 2023
Updated · Mar 20, 2023
Updated · Mar 17, 2023