…Hey, want to sign up for a “free” account?

… We all have them, friends and relatives that jump for anything “free”. After all, if you don’t have to pay for, what’s the harm? Well, welcome to contract law. By definition, a contract is a formless, but legally binding agreement (between two or more parties). You can enter a contract in lot’s of ways, including (but not limited to: by signing a piece of paper, by handshake (though you better have witnesses for that) or by clicking an “I accept button”. See where this is going?

Here’s an exercise for each and everyone of us (put particularly for those who can’t resist “free” stuff): When being offered to sign up for a “free” account, locate the “terms of service” and the “privacy statement” page. Print both documents, read them. Use a textmarker to highlight all the passages you have trouble with understanding, then sign at the bottom as a reminder that you are agreeing with all of what you just read (including the highlighted passages). Afterwards file the sheets in a ledger. How do you feel now? Still want the “free” account? Glad we talked.

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