Hidden Fine Print in Contracts or EULAs may favor consumers
As a contract between two parties must be fully understood, the article notes that deceptive fine print may be less apt to stand up in court in the future.
QUOTE; Consumers hate fine print, but emotions rarely carry the day in courtrooms. So corporations have been having a field day with barely readable terms and conditions for some time. In fact, fine-print writers have been emboldened by a recent Supreme Court decision in which the court took their side. But in a new book titled “Boilerplate,” author and lawyer Margaret Jane Radin is taking aim at the intellectual and legal basis of fine print, trying to put a serious dent in the legal argument behind it. "I don't think there's a contract, ever, when something is just dropped on us," Radin said, "especially when there is no option to vote with your feet as a consumer, when there are no alternatives.”
Radin’s point is that contracts, by definition, involve two equal parties that negotiate terms, while fine print is issued on a "take-it-or-leave-it" basis. (Just try to negotiate a lower early termination fee or strike out any clause when you sign a cellphone agreement.) In layman's terms, fine print is merely a list of bad things that can happen to you, the consumer. You might get hit with a penalty fee; your service might be terminated; your right to join a class-action lawsuit is surrendered.