The Weirdest Things People Agree to in Terms of Service
Who here among us would voluntarily spend 30 minutes sifting through legalese? We have to wonder whether even the most astute legal minds actually read through the entirety of the terms of service that pops up on their phones after a new software update.
But the fact of the matter is, even though many online services are free, simple and easy to use, the companies behind them collect our information as part of the deal and possible distribute it in ways that we might find unprincipled, as evidenced by the recent controversy that cropped up around subscription digest service Unroll.me and its relationship with Uber.
So what are you actually saying yes to when you breeze through that tiny print and click the agree button? We took a look at some of the most popular apps and services from Airbnb to Netflix and identified some of the more unusual elements of their terms of service.
We also want to hear from you. What’s some of the weirder terms of service you’ve come across?
You can’t use Venmo to break the law, so no ponzi schemes.
"You agree you will not use the Venmo Services to violate any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation relating to sales of....items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity” or “relating to transactions that: support pyramid or ponzi schemes, matrix programs, other 'get rich quick' schemes or certain multi-level marketing programs.”
Also, you can send someone money on Venmo -- but they don't have to take it.
“When you send money, the recipient is not required to accept it. You agree that you will not hold Company liable for any damages resulting from a recipient's decision not to accept a payment made through the Venmo Services.”
You agree that Uber isn’t a transportation provider.
“YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOUR ABILITY TO OBTAIN TRANSPORTATION, LOGISTICS AND/OR DELIVERY SERVICES THROUGH THE USE OF THE SERVICES DOES NOT ESTABLISH UBER AS A PROVIDER OF TRANSPORTATION, LOGISTICS OR DELIVERY SERVICES OR AS A TRANSPORTATION CARRIER.”
It’s all caps so you know Uber is serious.
And if you make a mess in an Uber, the company might have you pay to clean it up. “You shall be responsible for the cost of repair for damage to, or necessary cleaning of, vehicles and property resulting from use of the Services under your Account in excess of normal 'wear and tear' damages and necessary cleaning ('Repair or Cleaning').”
You can’t set up a weapons lab in an Airbnb.
“You also will not use the Site, Application and Services for any purpose prohibited by U.S. law, including the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.”
Not only that, but Airbnb can also request a credit check on you.
“By registering for an Airbnb Account, you agree that Airbnb may -- but is not obligated to -- request a consumer report on you from a Consumer Reporting Agency. If we do request a consumer report, we’ll request and use it in compliance with applicable law, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”
Lyft’s directions aren’t to be used in life-or-death scenarios.
“Location data provided by the Lyft Platform is for basic location purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon in situations where precise location information is needed or where erroneous, inaccurate or incomplete location data may lead to death, personal injury, property or environmental damage.”
You can’t rent out your Snap account.
It’s not an Airbnb.
“You will not buy, sell, rent, or lease access to your Snapchat account, Live, Snaps, a Snapchat username, or a friend link without our written permission.”
You promise that you won’t try to claim rights to research or products 23andMe potentially creates with your saliva.
Don’t send your content ideas to Netflix.
“Please note Netflix does not accept unsolicited materials or ideas for Netflix content, and is not responsible for the similarity of any of its content or programming in any media to materials or ideas transmitted to Netflix. Should you send any unsolicited materials or ideas, you do so with the understanding that no additional consideration of any sort will be provided to you, and you are waiving any claim against Netflix and its affiliates regarding the use of such materials and ideas, even if material or an idea is used that is substantially similar to the material or idea you sent.”
You promise to only link to Unroll.me’s homepage -- and only in a positive way.
“You may link to our homepage, provided you do so in a way that is fair and legal and does not damage our reputation or take advantage of it, but you must not establish a link in such a way as to suggest any form of association, approval or endorsement on our part where none exists. You must not establish a link from any website that is not owned by you. The Website must not be framed on any other site, nor may you create a link to any part of the Website other than the homepage. You agree to cooperate with us in causing any unauthorized framing or linking immediately to cease. We reserve the right to withdraw linking permission without notice.”
Tinder’s terms of service prove why you should maintain a healthy Google-stalking habit.
“YOU ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER USERS. YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE COMPANY CURRENTLY DOES NOT CONDUCT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ON ITS USERS. THE COMPANY ALSO DOES NOT VERIFY THE STATEMENTS OF ITS USERS. THE COMPANY MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES AS TO THE CONDUCT OF USERS OR THEIR COMPATIBILITY WITH ANY CURRENT OR FUTURE USERS. THE COMPANY RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CONDUCT ANY CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK OR OTHER SCREENINGS (SUCH AS SEX OFFENDER REGISTER SEARCHES), AT ANY TIME AND USING AVAILABLE PUBLIC RECORDS.”
Seamless can card you.
“Some jurisdictions permit the ordering and delivery of alcoholic beverages. In such jurisdictions, if you place an order that includes any alcoholic beverage, you acknowledge that you are at least 21 years of age. Upon delivery or pickup, as applicable, you shall present a government-issued identification card, evidencing your age. If you do not comply with these terms, you agree that the alcoholic beverage(s) will not be released to you, and you shall forfeit the cost of such beverages."