Contract of Adhesion

 

I am trying to log in to my Chase accounts online, and am presented with a checkbox for “I have read and agree to…” the updated blah blah.  The first document is ONE HUNDRED TWENTY SEVEN PAGES.

This is abuse.  I signed up for a service under the terms at the time.  While I understand that there’s probably a clause in there about updating terms from time to time, this is beyond the pale.  One potential solution would be to offer a 90-day transition period.  This is what a grown-up organization, or one that values its customers, would do.  Granted, I’m not a big fish, so it’s not as though I’ll withdraw my billions and make them take note.  Still, the rule of law is supposed to ensure that good faith is enough, that one need not be a billionaire to be treated other than a dog, and that one need not wear body armor and carry grenades in order to not be assaulted.

This “agree or screw off” approach with absolutely zero haggling is I believe referred to as a contract of adhesion, and is supposed to be difficult to enforce as compared to a normal contract in which two parties sit down and sign.  The problem is that in our modern technocracy, enforcement is not required — mere power is sufficient to consummate the relationship.  The contract enforces itself, which is both elegant and chilling, as I had no input into the terms of the contract.  They already have my money, after all, and going to court to get it out is also a loss.

A better design would have offered some chance to review the contract before accepting, while still conducting business for a limited time under the old terms — the terms I already agreed to.  Another better design would have been to offer a summary of changes, along with a reminder of key points carried over, preferably with liunks or refs to relevant sections.  But better designs are not required, and are probably seen as a loss by any entity that can dictate terms.

Yes, I can refuse to agree to the new terms, and pursue some offline method of getting out.  Or I can also clear off a chunk of time and dedicate it to reading that contract RIGHT NOW instead of getting on with managing my stuff.   What I cannot do is use this afternoon the way I wanted to and still retain the service I signed up for, and for which I pay.  Therefore, the loss is mine either way.

And that’s the way it goes.  Sit boy, sit.  Good dog.

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  1. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    I feel similarly aggravated when my bank or vendors block VPN connections.  Their justification is always security.  But not mine.

    • #1
  2. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    I have a son-in-law who worked for Chase Bank for a while. The attitude you note carries over to their treatment of their employees. I recommend finding a new bank. I don’t know who would be better for your situation, but I’m not a fan of Chase.

    • #2
  3. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    The renting of software falls into this category . Used to be, when you bought it you were good . Now, almost every thing is rent  to never own . 

    The other thing is the software that phone’s home to check the key . When the company goes belly up without telling you no more check the key and software dead . An honorable company would send an unlock key to all customers before closing up .  Got burned on this with Backup software .

    You will own nothing and be happy , rube !!

    • #3
  4. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    The renting of software falls into this category . Used to be, when you bought it you were good . Now, almost every thing is rent  to never own . 

    ARRG!  Adobe Photoshop!

    • #4
  5. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    The agreement was probably always that long, you just never saw it all at once because it was “incorporated by reference” or something.

    • #5
  6. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The agreement was probably always that long, you just never saw it all at once because it was “incorporated by reference” or something.

    I don’t recall the original, but at that point, I was not an existing customer.  At THAT point, it’s far more reasonable to say that I was just as free to turn the whole thing down if I didn’t like it.  Existing customers are more invested in, and should be more protected by, their relationship with the enterprise in question.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    We left Chase over a year ago. We couldn’t get the local branch to pick up our calls, and we had to get in line to get simple questions answered. Once I heard they were donors to the Southern Poverty Law Center, it was easy to leave.

    • #7
  8. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    ey to all customers before closing up .  Got burned on this with Backup software .

    You will own nothing and be happy , rube !!

    • #3
    •  

    I am still using the 2012 version of the timekeeping and billing software I use for my law practice, precisely because that was the last version you could have fully operational on your own PC, and could backup the database locally, not putting your data up into the “cloud”. 

    Later versions do not permit you to own the software (i.e., the license is not perpetual, it’s a subscription), and require all databases be stored in the “cloud.” Meanwhile my state bar association says I have an obligation to protect and preserve all my clients’ data securely, and would face humongous (legal term) costs if data leaks.

    Well, some of the “cloud” servers are outside the reach of the US and its laws, so what am I to do? Hope the 2012 version runs flawlessly till retirement, say I.

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Indeed

    Personally I think we should amend the Constitution to forbid terms for customers more than 1000 words.

     

    • #9
  10. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Indeed

    Personally I think we should amend the Constitution to forbid terms for customers more than 1000 words.

     

    And make sure that means in total.  Otherwise at the “end” you find something like “continued in part 2…”

    • #10
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Indeed

    Personally I think we should amend the Constitution to forbid terms for customers more than 1000 words.

     

    And make sure that means in total. Otherwise at the “end” you find something like “continued in part 2…”

    That should result in capital punishment 

    • #11
  12. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Great post.  I’ve often thought that the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) should be modified to make such “contracts” less one sided.

    Another example I saw a few months ago:  Brought my dog to the vet for teeth cleaning and I took the time to read their contract.  A few paragraphs down it said that I would release the veterinarian and his assistants and everyone involved from “any and all” liability.

    I’m sorry.  I don’t grant my grandmother a release from any and all liability.

    I lined that out from the contract, initialed it, and called it to the attention of the poor assistant.  The vet was in surgery, so I had to wait, but after about 30 or 45 minutes they finally came back and said the vet agreed to my change of the language in the contract.

    A small victory.  I’m not litigious, sometimes dogs die.  And a middle aged dog simply isn’t worth a lot of money, but there’s a principle that abusive contracts shouldn’t be signed.

    • #12
  13. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Great post. I’ve often thought that the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) should be modified to make such “contracts” less one sided.

    Another example I saw a few months ago: Brought my dog to the vet for teeth cleaning and I took the time to read their contract. A few paragraphs down it said that I would release the veterinarian and his assistants and everyone involved from “any and all” liability.

    I’m sorry. I don’t grant my grandmother a release from any and all liability.

    I lined that out from the contract, initialed it, and called it to the attention of the poor assistant. The vet was in surgery, so I had to wait, but after about 30 or 45 minutes they finally came back and said the vet agreed to my change of the language in the contract.

    A small victory. I’m not litigious, sometimes dogs die. And a middle aged dog simply isn’t worth a lot of money, but there’s a principle that abusive contracts shouldn’t be signed.

    Good for you to have read the darn thing. My daughter always kids me, for having trained her as a lawyer’s kid, to read through every contract. But she has avoided some egregious overreaching as a result, and she seems to appreciate it, so I sleep untroubled.

    • #13
  14. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    The renting of software falls into this category . Used to be, when you bought it you were good . Now, almost every thing is rent to never own .

    ARRG! Adobe Photoshop!

    You should try their competitor, GIMP.  (That stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program)  I’ve been using it for years.  The basic program is absolutely free and has pretty much everything I need for editing pictures.

    • #14
  15. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    The renting of software falls into this category . Used to be, when you bought it you were good . Now, almost every thing is rent to never own .

    ARRG! Adobe Photoshop!

    You should try their competitor, GIMP. (That stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program) I’ve been using it for years. The basic program is absolutely free and has pretty much everything I need for editing pictures.

    Is there a free alternative to Microsoft Clipchamp that might not freeze all the time?

    • #15
  16. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    The renting of software falls into this category . Used to be, when you bought it you were good . Now, almost every thing is rent to never own .

    ARRG! Adobe Photoshop!

    You should try their competitor, GIMP. (That stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program) I’ve been using it for years. The basic program is absolutely free and has pretty much everything I need for editing pictures.

    Is there a free alternative to Microsoft Clipchamp that might not freeze all the time?

    Some jumping-off points:

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=clipchamp+alternative+windows&t=ffab&atb=v348-1&ia=web

    • #16
  17. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    The renting of software falls into this category . Used to be, when you bought it you were good . Now, almost every thing is rent to never own .

    ARRG! Adobe Photoshop!

    You should try their competitor, GIMP. (That stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program) I’ve been using it for years. The basic program is absolutely free and has pretty much everything I need for editing pictures.

    Is there a free alternative to Microsoft Clipchamp that might not freeze all the time?

    Is that clip champs or chip clamps, because I see those for cheap all the time in the Dollar Stores.

    • #17
  18. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    The renting of software falls into this category . Used to be, when you bought it you were good . Now, almost every thing is rent to never own .

    ARRG! Adobe Photoshop!

    You should try their competitor, GIMP. (That stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program) I’ve been using it for years. The basic program is absolutely free and has pretty much everything I need for editing pictures.

    Is there a free alternative to Microsoft Clipchamp that might not freeze all the time?

    Is that clip champs or chip clamps, because I see those for cheap all the time in the Dollar Stores.

    Hip cramps.

    • #18
  19. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Be wealthy enough to afford whatever lawyers or lobbyists you need. Be in some kind of collective that protects you with the same thing. > Every other option.

    60% of the country lives paycheck to paycheck right now.

    You can’t tell me this doesn’t change society in a bad way.

    • #19
  20. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Be wealthy enough to afford whatever lawyers or lobbyists you need. Be in some kind of collective that protects you with the same thing. > Every other option.

    60% of the country lives paycheck to paycheck right now.

    You can’t tell me this doesn’t change society in a bad way.

    It’s not just paycheck to paycheck, either.  It’s how many people get sizable paychecks.  Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t so bad if the paycheck is big enough.  How many people in the US can even imagine sending their kids to school in other countries and making occasional trips just to visit them, etc?

    • #20
  21. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    kedavis (View Comment):
    It’s not just paycheck to paycheck, either.  It’s how many people get sizable paychecks.  Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t so bad if the paycheck is big enough.  How many people in the US can even imagine sending their kids to school in other countries and making occasional trips just to visit them, etc?

    I’m not talking about people making a bunch of stupid decisions like this.  

    • #21
  22. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Mortgage affordability is worse now than it was in 2008. 

    The rent is too damn high. 

    etc.

    • #22
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Didn’t we all see the South Park episode some years back about what happens if you click the “accept” button without reading it?

     

    • #23
  24. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Didn’t we all see the South Park episode some years back about what happens if you click the “accept” button without reading it?

     

    Human CentiPad.

    • #24
  25. davenr321 Coolidge
    davenr321
    @davenr321

    Right on time… but are Republicans ready to “do something”? Because, otherwise some Dem who wants to make a name for itself, will:

    Consumer Protection:

    1. A law limiting these kinds of agreements, that is, abusively long, intrusive, and potentially so complicated that it’s possibly impossible to comply with. We’ll call it the “I Just Want It To…” Act.

    2. A law requiring that the removal of packaging materials/assemblies of any item by the consumer shall not be designed and thence constructed so as to cause damage to or loss of the product/contents purchased, and/or harm to the consumer. This one will be the “It Better Not Break Before I Get To Use It” Act. 

     

    • #25
  26. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    Right on time… but are Republicans ready to “do something”? Because, otherwise some Dem who wants to make a name for itself, will:

    Consumer Protection:

    1. A law limiting these kinds of agreements, that is, abusively long, intrusive, and potentially so complicated that it’s possibly impossible to comply with. We’ll call it the “I Just Want It To…” Act.

    2. A law requiring that the removal of packaging materials/assemblies of any item by the consumer shall not be designed and thence constructed so as to cause damage to or loss of the product/contents purchased, and/or harm to the consumer. This one will be the “It Better Not Break Before I Get To Use It” Act.

     

    Maybe not quite on point, but I’ll drop it in here anyway:

     

    • #26
  27. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Thousands sign up to clean sewage because They didn’t read the “terms and conditions.”

    • #27
  28. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    The Social Contract is the most egregious contract of adhesion in history that makes Chase’s contract look like a love letter. Lysander Spooner had a couple of things to say about that for those who are interested. As odious as modern terms of service are, they’re more equitable than the Social Contract; at least you can walk away from Chase without having to pull a Ted Kaczynski. .

    • #28
  29. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    I feel similarly aggravated when my bank or vendors block VPN connections. Their justification is always security. But not mine.

    Right.  Security for me, but not for thee.

    • #29
  30. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    The Social Contract is the most egregious contract of adhesion in history that makes Chase’s contract look like a love letter. Lysander Spooner had a couple of things to say about that for those who are interested. As odious as modern terms of service are, they’re more equitable than the Social Contract; at least you can walk away from Chase without having to pull a Ted Kaczynski. .

    Before I go, is the sort of thing that results in college libertarians decrying their own existence because they didn’t agree to be born?

    • #30
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