The Red Tape Chronicles has an interesting post about “contracts of adhesion,” which come into play in nearly every purchase you make. It’s called the fine print, and as you know, companies use it to get you to do and not do all sorts of things.
If you want to buy a cellphone, you’ll have to agree not to sue them, and to pay $200 if you quit before your contract is up.
But, as Bob Sullivan asks, will the cellphone company pay you $200 if they go out of business during your contract? And since every company inserts such language, the choice is either to accept the terms, or not get a cellphone, or not rent a car.
However, these provisions can be thrown out if a judge rules them “unconscionable,” but only if someone sues the company first. Since that’s an unlikely proposition for most people, more and more language favorable to the company creeps into the boilerplate.