TOS – Yeah Fine, I Agree

lady on a laptop graphic

Wait! What? We all see these Terms of Service that must be agreed to in order to access a service, website or asset. But who actually takes the time to read through this before clicking on the ‘I agree’ button? Who has time for that, right? Well, let’s look at what could be included in the TOS and some reasons why you should take the time to read them.

A TOS will establish rules and guidelines that users must adhere to in order to use the website or software. It will include a description of the service. There will be disclaimers that limit the company’s responsibility for the content and potential damages. A provision to opt-out of use of the website or software is normally included and may have information of disposition of data. This accompanies the privacy policies to show what data is collected and how it may be used by the company. Payment details may also be involved in purchased apps. Understand how payments are made, late fees, discounts or other charges are applied.

That’s a lot! So checking a box of agreement without reviewing the TOS can lead to issues. Why should you read the Terms of Service prior to agreeing?

  • Privacy Concerns – This is, by far, the greatest concern. Lack of understanding how your data is being used can lead to misuse or reuse of your information that you may not be happy about.
  • Unintentional violation of the agreement – If you don’t understand what the TOS requires on your part you may actually act against the statements you agreed upon.
  • Company understanding – By reading through the TOS you may learn more about the company you intend to enter into business with.
  • Consequences – Failure to follow the TOS can result in suspension or termination of your account. You may also face some legal ramifications, depending on the violation.

A TOS is a legal contract between a service provider and the user. The provider is looking for a means of protection in the case of legal action against them. It can protect their business from user’s misuse and reduce their liabilities.

Before entering into an agreement with any resource, free or fee based, make sure you understand their TOS, Privacy Policy AND the Terms and Conditions.

Fun Reading:
Not Reading Terms of Service Can Have Devilish Consequences
35 Times People Actually Read The Terms And Conditions And Found Something So Unexpected, They Just Had To Share It Online