You can say what you want about Chipotle’s food, but whoever put together the legalese on the back of their gift cards has a pretty good sense of humor.
Groupon is a daily deal sort of website, but the reason it’s on Consumerist today is because of how well it communicated some recent changes to its Terms of Service agreement. Consumerist reader Pureboy sent in a copy of the email he recently received where the website explained the changes in plain English, with examples.
RP was just offered a transfer on his Citi card by a Citibank CSR, but the CSR was kind of vague on the details of the offer and could only repeat the benefits. RP looked online while the CSR pitched the offer, and found that there’s quite a big catch in the fine print–after six months, the interest rate jumps from 3.99% to 29.99%.
It’s difficult enough to parse a lengthy TOS for one web-based service, let alone for dozens, or to keep track of when and how they update them. It would be nice if some public-service website out there would keep track of this stuff for all of us, wouldn’t it? Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) did just that with the launch of TOSBAck.org, “the terms-of-service tracker.” It tracks TOS agreements for 44 different services, including Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, and eBay.
Time Warner has revised their Subscriber Agreement to lay the legal foundation needed to implement consumption based billing, including usage caps, tiered rate plans, overlimit fees, and speed throttling. Though Time Warner’s metered broadband plans lie in shambles after a barely-averted run in with Congress’ legislative mace, the cable giant clearly has no intention of letting such a potentially massive cash cow escape from the paddock. Inside, the dangerous new legalese that may soon appear in teeny tiny print on your next Time Warner bill.
You’ve got about a day and a half left to cast your vote for which Terms of Service you’d prefer Facebook go with—the one written in September 2008 without user input, or the new one they’ve drafted over the last month based on suggestions from the Facebook community.
Comcast’s new service agreement (PDF) has some curious details buried in the fine print. Here’s the short version: “customer equipment” includes your computer and TV set, and if Comcast somehow damages or breaks any customer equipment through “gross negligence or willful misconduct,” they will pay you up to $500, no more. “This shall be your sole and exclusive remedy relating to such activity.”
Well, yesterday’s Facebook post certainly blew up today, and it looks like Facebook is currently preparing an official response. In the meantime, a Facebook rep has written to the Industry Standard to emphasize that all rights are subject to your privacy settings, so even if they don’t expire when you close your account, they’ll still be subject to whatever restrictions you had when the account was active. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has also posted a more philosophical response on the Facebook blog saying that while the new Terms of Service are “overly formal,” they’re only meant to give Facebook the legal ability to enable content sharing among users.
One of the bloggers at BoingBoing attempted to install World of Warcraft on his Ubuntu Linux laptop, but first he had to agree to… something. Full picture inside.
Target confiscated Nick’s coupon for 10% off items left on his wedding registry after randomly deciding that the coupon was too generous.
Longtime Consumerist reader TBT read the fine print for a credit card she recently opened with Bank of America, and discovered that buried in pages 13 and 14 is a section that limits your right to request a chargeback to your home state or within 100 miles of your home address, and only for purchases over $50. He found this shocking, but, actually, this is a limitation provided by the Fair Credit Billing Act. If you dislike it, here’s a great post of ours on writing effective letters to Congress.