Saturday, December 26, 2015

Frivolous Contracts

Political conservatives always demand protection from frivolous lawsuits - I say we all need protection from frivolous contracts.

Last night while simply trying to watch an episode of Star Trek Next Generation - as I always do - I was presented with Netflix terms of use contract that required I agree to before I could continue.  Hadn't I done this already??   Having been burned by Netflix's policies in the past I decided I better read it before I accept it.  It was 45 pages long!  Not only that but there were glaring gaps in the document as if it had been edited many times but never proof read after that.  At one point it even said "We reserve the right to "  and then there was a big gap and then the next paragraph on a totally different topic.  That's really bad!

Before I go any further let me just say this:  Any contract that contains a phrase similar to  "The terms and conditions can change at any time with or without notice" is already null and void in my opinion.  It is simply wrong to imply that after I agree to your terms you can change it any way you want.  No!

Back to Netflix -  I felt that perhaps the on-screen version of the contract was maybe displaying different than the actual terms so I chose the option to have it emailed to me.  Sadly - the emailed copy was exactly the same - misprints and chunks of missing data.  And of course they have some similar phrase to the above in their 45 page document - it was about 15 pages in though. Since I wanted to watch my show and they indicate they can change their document at any time what choice do I have?  I accepted the stupid thing and enjoyed my program..  But what did I just do?  By the way - there is simply no way to contact Netflix for tech support or any other gripe.  They don't want to hear it.

These days nearly everything we do requires accepting one of these extremely lengthy documents where we are required to give up any right or protection just to use the service being offered.  We have no choice at all - either accept it or you don't get to make phone calls or get on the Internet etc.  This is very wrong.

Why do corporations have all these protections and we the consumers have absolutely none?  We cannot refuse any portion of the contract even if we strongly disagree with it.  It is an all or nothing deal and these contracts are part of almost everything we do each day besides breathing.  This is what I call corporate tyranny and I can't think of any other term for it.  

We need to elect people who understand the needs of the people - not just the needs of the corporations.  My Netflix contract should be very short - you provide a service and I will pay for it.  If you need to use "cookies" to track my likes and dislikes or need other information - then you should provide a simple checklist for such things that I can allow or not allow.  

May we track your viewing habits to provide relevant content suggestions?  - Yes
May we contact your friends so they might enjoy your content list?  - No
May we sell your personal information to marketers?  No!!

A contract is an agreement between two parties - not an all-or-nothing extortion.  In this digital age - changes need to be made and fast!  Lets get started today by electing people who protect people's rights while still offering protections for corporations.  That way we can wipe out both frivolous lawsuits and frivolous contracts at the same time.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Dennis!

Lisa in Basel