Terms and Conditions Must Die

I have read the terms and conditions; Untick the box if you do not not wish to sell your soul to Lucifer

Comedian Eddie Izzard has a hilarious routine about ticking the “I have read the terms and conditions” box.

“Even God,” complains Izzard, “has not read the terms and conditions!”

The terms and conditions tick-box is a charade. Companies know that users do not read the linked-to T&Cs, which are often many pages of legalese. But users tick the box anyway.

Why do users tick the box?

Well, what choice do they have? Abandon the shopping cart, having selected the products and plodded through all the forms? Refuse the iTunes update and risk having an obsolete iPhone? Etc.

In theory, users have a choice. In reality, it is not reasonable for a user to read the T&Cs document; it feels more pragmatic to tick the box, fingers crossed. Indeed, users would struggle to wade through the legalese of most T&C documents.

Blogger Dixon Jones suggests that T&C tick-boxes may be illegal because they offer a “lack of reasonable alternative (but to accept the other party’s terms).”

Legal or not, Dixon sums up the prevalent sentiment: T&C tick-boxes “suck”.

To improve the user experience of a website, we need to remove things that suck.

The terms and conditions tick-box must die.

[ ] I disagree with this article and I have read the terms and conditions.