Neither Congress nor foreign legislatures have done anything about ridiculous user contracts for services like WiFi or cable that require consumers to sign long agreements with impenetrable legal language and clauses. It is a knowing effort by companies to impose highly disadvantageous terms in mountains of legalese. One company however has vividly demonstrated the scam to its credit. The WiFi company, Purple, inserted language in its standard contract that obligated consumers to clean toilets at festivals and clear sewer blockages. Some 22,000 people signed up.
The contract stated that these people are now legally required to perform 1000 hours of community service, including, but not limited to, cleaning toilets at festivals, scraping chewing gum off the streets and “manually relieving sewer blockages.” It was a funny gag but one with a serious point. The “community service clause” was meant by the company “to illustrate the lack of consumer awareness of what they are signing up to when they access free wifi.”
Despite the humor in such gags, it is a disgrace that there has not been greater effort to combat these knowingly complex and convoluted contracts.
Of course, the more chilling question is who many would knowingly balance great WiFi against their eldest child.