Problem: Consumers are signing on to increasing numbers of complicated binding contracts that they don't understand. Contracts and EULAs for cell phone plans, credit cards, devices, web sites, etc, have gotten more and more complicated and more restrictive. As the fine print gets finer, and the text gets longer, consumers are no longer able to really understand what they are agreeing to. They lose money being locked into contracts, lose their rights, and may make a choice the does not benefit them. They can't afford to hire an attorney to review each contract, yet the company proposing the contract can afford to hire many, and spread that cost, especially if the contracts are written extract extra revenue from unaware consumers. The incentive to make complex contracts is high. This has been the trend, and its getting worse, reducing consumer power and creating a negative consumer experience.
Solution: A non-profit impartial web site that hires attorneys to review a product or service's contracts and summarizes them from the consumer's point of view. They could use a system of criteria rankings based on length of contract commitment, expected cost over lifetime, cost of cancelling plan, cost of making changes to plan, rights lost by consumer, frequency of contract changes, etc. In each category (cell plans, credit cards, etc) Companies could be ranked by these criteria. Consumers could go to the site to check the rankings before picking a plan. This would help them decide whether the restrictive contract is worth agreeing to. The site will be a third party, so they will be able to trust the advice. Maybe companies will be influenced by this site and start competing more on simplifying their contracts, since it increases the incentive to simplify the contracts. This will equalize the playing field and empower consumers.
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|Bes||Thu Apr 2 2015
|Great idea! What about the app stuff we agree to? Whats being done about that?|