'Surrendering your immortal soul' - does anybody ever read terms and conditions?

'Surrendering your immortal soul' - does anybody ever read terms and conditions?


I like terms and conditions. There. I’ve said it.

I’m a convert to them. I’ve spent years drafting them for businesses large and small. Personally, I think that they are a useful management tool setting out what businesses and customers should expect from each other. However, I fully accept that a significant percentage of the population may struggle to agree with me.

So how do you get customers to read them, or, at the very least, have a cursory glance through them? After all, thousands of Gamestation customers — 7,500 in fact — inadvertently surrendered their souls to the games retailer in April 2010 when they agreed to the clause below.

 Very clever.

To be honest, I’m surprised that as much as 12% of Gamestation’s customers actually discovered the clause — and thus were able to claim a lovely £5 voucher for being so eagle-eyed. Even us lawyers blindly click on terms and conditions from time to time (shocking revelation, I know).


So how do you make terms and conditions work for you?

The key, I believe, is to not to look at terms and conditions in isolation. They should be part of a whole package of engaging with customers:

  • communicate with clients at all times during the sales process so they know what is going on and what to expect
  • have proper systems in place to ensure high levels of customer service, and
  • over-deliver on your promises

Effectively, put systems in place so that you manage the risk of a customer not actually reading the terms and conditions.

So far so good. But how do you get the customer to act

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