You may never read those lengthy terms and conditions attached to every digital download or app but, in America at least, they are legally binding. Sorry.
That’s the conclusion of a panel of appeal judges earlier this week when shining beacon of corporate responsibility Uber insisted its users had agreed not to sue the company somewhere in its long list of lengthy legal locutions.
On Thursday, the US Second Court of Appeals decided [PDF] that when customers installed Uber’s ride-hailing app and agreed to the terms and conditions – even though virtually none of them actually read the details – they were obliged to go through arbitration if they had a dispute with the company.
The case was very closely watched by technology companies for obvious reasons – if the court ruled differently it could have opened them up to a wave of potential liability and public scrutiny.
As it stands, the arbitration requirement will hold: a situation that enables many companies to keep embarrassing cock-ups and business practices under wraps since unhappy consumers are obliged to go through the process privately and details are not made public.
Absolute legal lunacy!