This Clever Experiment Proved That Almost Nobody Reads The Fine Print

Skipping the terms and conditions can be a costly decision. This Clever Experiment Proved That Almost Nobody Reads The Fine Print Giphy

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Whether signing up for a new membership or downloading an app, we’ve all experienced that moment when we’re hit with a wall of text that we know we should be reading. But instead, we scroll to the bottom and click “accept.”

Is it boilerplate legalese or did we just sign over our firstborn? We’ll never know because none of us ever read the terms and conditions … Well, almost none of us.

As if you needed proof

The fact that most consumers skip all that text probably doesn’t come as a shock to you. But one U.K. organization recently conducted an experiment to see just how long it would take for somebody to actually read its terms.

Tax Policy Associates included one condition amid the boring clauses on its website that promised: “We will send a bottle of good wine to the first person to read this.”

That was in February … and founder Dan Neidle confirmed just this week that someone had finally contacted the group to claim the prize.

“Our ongoing experiment into whether anyone reads website T&Cs continues,” he wrote. “We put this in our terms back in February. Just got claimed.”

The person who claimed the wine received a bottle of 2013-14 Chateau de Sales valued at roughly $44.

“My childish protest”

Now that the wine has been claimed, that passage in the website’s terms authoritatively asserts: “We know nobody reads this.”

For his part, Neidle said the giveaway was a “childish protest” against the fact that “all businesses have to have a privacy policy and no one reads it.”

But should you start? You probably won’t get a free bottle of wine, but you could find out some useful information about what you’re getting (and what you’re giving up) by accepting the terms.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee May 11th, 2024
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