Let’s be honest, Pandas, how many of us genuinely read all of the terms and conditions, cover to cover? Whether you’re buying a product or service, no matter if it’s physical or digital, more often than not, you have to wade through pages of confusing, lengthy technical jargon that is formatted into huge walls of text. Most of us just skip over all of that, either recycling what we consider to be a waste of paper or clicking [Accept]. Not many of us have the spare time to put on our corporate lawyer hats every single time we purchase something.
There’s one problem, though. You can never be certain if there isn’t something important hidden within those dizzying lines and twisting phrases. Some details are bizarre, unfair, absurd, and even hilarious. And that’s exactly the topic that internet users from around the world tackled in a viral r/AskReddit thread.
These people actually take their time and get to know the T&Cs and details of every contract and petition, intimately. Scroll down to take a peek at the weirdest things they’ve found. Have you come across any similar strange things when you got down to the nitty-gritty deets? Share your experiences in the comments.
#1I considered auditioning for the first season of Canada's Got Talent. I got the contract for auditions and read the fine print.
"You will pay your own room, board and travel. You agree to being on camera 24/7. We can listen to your private phone calls. We can enter your room at any time to check on you and record it."
I noped out of that audition fast.
Image credits: anon
#2I was a witness on Judge Judy probably about a decade ago. In the waiver that you have to sign it said you would get paid $5 in cash upon request in the small print. I asked the woman who took the form from me she chuckled and pulled out a crisp $5 and handed it to me.
Image credits: idrunkenlysignedup
#3I was asked to sign a petition for something that I generally was in agreement with, until I read the last part of it, that read something like, "the chairman of the committee reserves the right to change the wording of this petition".
So it was like, "sign here, and we'll figure out what you signed later".
Image credits: anon
There are two things that life has taught many of us to take seriously. First of all, don’t sign any important papers without knowing exactly what you’re in for. There’s a difference between accepting the terms and conditions of a video game you bought or signing up for a weekly newspaper delivery and buying a car or a house or taking out a loan.
The more money is on the line, the more we have to be willing to take our time and patiently get to know every tiny little nuance.
#4You never own the Tesla you pay for.
Tesla, (and to various extents, other anti-right-to-repair companies like Mercedes, Apple, John Deere, etc.) hold that their products are intellectual property and cannot be owned by customers, instead claiming that they are effectively leased to buyers."
"Tesla has on on multiple occasions (illegally) disabled features of cars being sold used because of this.
Image credits: bf5005
#5The terms and conditions for the rewards card at the grocery store i worked had "if you've actually taken the time to read this, please email (email) with this code and the pin for your card for $500 in rewards points "
And it actually did, then I started getting a new card every other month or so. Then they changed who the rewards program was with.
Image credits: whatnameisnttaken098
#6I’m an auto mechanic, I regularly purchase tools from tool trucks. Sometimes there’s little giveaways if you spend x amount you get this scratch off ticket that could win you something blah blah.
One time I was reading the fine print at the bottom, usual legalese stuff then the last line cracked me up - said something like “residents of Canada will be required to complete a series of mathematical questions in order to claim their prize”
What the hell did Canada do to require being punished to win a prize?
Image credits: Brianthelion83
The second lesson is to always leave a paper trail, whether at work or dealing with company representatives or clients. Human memory is fallible. And different individuals can interpret some things in completely different ways. So if you have documentation of some sort to fall back on, it can save you a ton of headaches down the line.
Disagreements and mishaps sometimes occur. You don’t want to be the only one left without any legal leverage.
#7We were interested in purchasing a house, and sent the Contract of Sale to our conveyancer as a final 'rubber stamp' before signing.
They quickly got back to us, pointing out a clause buried in the Contract. It said that we agree to forfeiting our cooling off period and all 'subject to building/pest/structural inspection' rights, and that we agreed we must proceed with the purchase no matter what. Even if the house was rotted with termites, or the vendor had blatantly hid some structural fault, they could legally 'force' us to proceed with the purchase.
The conveyancer said that the vendor's legal firm had a reputation of putting these hidden nasties in their Contracts, so she knew to scrutinise every word as soon as she saw their name on it.
Needless to say, we didn't proceed with the purchase.
#8Gamestation (an old video game store in the UK) had an immortal soul clause. They own thousands of peoples souls!
Image credits: GhandisMcGonagall
#9*You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, missiles, or chemical or biological weapons.*
This is from the Terms and Conditions for Apple's iTunes.
Image credits: cld8
As we’ve covered on Bored Panda before, it can be extremely time and resource-intensive to get to grips with the finer details of contracts, such as the non-disclosure agreements many folks are made to sign at work.
Essentially, NDAs are civil contracts that are meant to protect companies by preventing employees from leaking sensitive information or harming the business in other ways. If you breach the terms you signed, it can mean that your company may seek damages by taking you to court.
#10I read the terms and conditions before joining a gym. It said the only reason you could cancel your membership is if you moved out of the area or got injured and had a note from a doctor. Otherwise you had to give 30 days notice and pay 3 additional months worth of fees. I did not join.
Image credits: sweetlyserious
#11Peacock tv has a recipe for chocolate cake in section 9
Image credits: tadashi88
#12One of my old jobs said that if there was ever a contagion that resulted in people losing their minds and acting like violent, mindless, swarming animals (i.e. zombies or infected) then we would be expected to hide in bunkers, rescue our clients and not kill anyone.
Image credits: theshizirl
Ideally, both parties would negotiate mutually fair terms of the contract. In practice, however, many employees don’t have the time for this or the spare cash to hire a lawyer to peruse everything under a microscope.
You can, however, still raise any questions you have about the need for the NDA and the particular terms therein with your superiors. You shouldn’t be scared to speak up if you spot something unclear, ambiguous, or weird while you’re scanning the stack of docs, bigger than your book backlog.
#13Halfway it stopped and said "do you even read these"
Image credits: knights4412
#14On my apartment rent agreement, there was one part that basically said: If you (the renter) dies then your family is responsible for paying the rest of the rent left on your contract.
Image credits: billyandteddy
#15I read the terms and conditions for either Windows 95 or the Windows 98 upgrade. Somewhere buried deep in the middle was a warning that the operating system should not be used to operate a nuclear power plant. I'm assuming it was a joke because it was an individually licensed product rather than a corporate license, and if they were serious about it, I would think that warning would be at the top!
Also, can you imagine a nuclear power plant running on a 90's version of Windows? It would give a whole new meaning to "the blue screen of death."
Image credits: anon
#16I read the waiver at an indoor paintball place one time. It covered everything you’d think it would cover, but that wasn’t all. Insect bites and stings. Attacks from wild animals “such as bears, etc” (yes, it specified bears), and dangers such as guides incorrectly navigating rapids.
All of these things were covered.
The experience did not live up to what the waiver implied.
#17It was when I was setting up android work profile (The high school I'm attending rn issued us emails that route the emails through their servers) for online school. G-suite and everything.
I couldn't rlly avoid the work profile thing cuz android wanted me to set it up.
Enough with context here.
I downloaded google device policy to set this up and I saw, and I quote.
"Administrators on this domain can have access to any and all data on your phone"
I was like, Hell no! They do random phone searches of the students already why give them full access!?
I then decided to do the online class stuff on my computer and do it web-based instead of giving them full access to my phone.
Image credits: anon
#18EasyBCD is one of the few I read. It says I owe a picture of my sister in the shower if the author asks for it.
That was like 10 years ago. I dunno if the software still exists.
Image credits: OnlySeesLastSentence
#19Not my reading but a few years back people read amazon terms and conditions and found it contained a clause addressing the fate of products if a zombie apocalypse were to happen
Image credits: anon
#20PPG (paint company) does not allow their paint to be used on terrorist, biohazard or nuclear facilities.
Image credits: lsellati
#21“WordWeb free version may be used indefinitely only by people who take at most two commercial flights (not more than one return flight) in any 12 month period. People who fly more than this need to purchase the Pro version if they wish to continue to use it after a 30-day trial period.”
Every 12 months they ask you how many flights have you taken. If you answer more than one return flight they will not allow you to use the program for free anymore and you must pay to use it now.
#22I read the Terms and Conditions most of the time before I agree to them, and that's quite often since I tend to try out and play a lot of different mobile games. So I've encountered a few odd ones, though I can't remember which iOS games they were for specifically (though some ToS for other things).
* One had a single sentence about making pancakes for someone named Paul in the legal department if so called upon. I'm yet to be called upon to make pancakes.
* One consistently spelled it as "conditioner" as opposed to "conditions" throughout the entire document.
* A form I signed at an indoor rock climbing place (basically acknowledging that I knew it was dangerous and understood the physical risks of the activity) included a clause about how the business was not liable if any of my things were stolen, "including but not limited to bags, phones, wallets and the contents therein, and underwear." I never figured out what happened to make them specifically include underwear.
* Another mobile game (was probably Minions Run, but I'm not sure) warned players that slipping on banana peels can in fact be dangerous and so they did not recommend acting out that part of the game in real life.
* Bumble's ToS mentions that you're not allowed to share pictures of a dog that's not yours. Followed immediately by "(just kidding!)"
* If I was to break any part of my ToS with Microsoft, they would be within their legal right to ban me from using not only my Xbox Live but my Xbox itself while it's offline.
Image credits: JJGrace42
#23My daycare’s release form had a clause saying that by signing, I was giving them permission to take my kids to Canada. Canada is a day’s drive away and there is absolutely no reason they would ever need to take my kids there. I crossed it off before signing.
My mortgage documents included a clause that says that, if I ever get sued, they have the right to accelerate the loan and demand payment of the entire remaining balance. It doesn’t matter if the law suit is meritorious. Just getting sued can lead to acceleration.
Image credits: Moonlightonthelake80
#24So i know a few years back there was a report of a dude who read through the whole thing and actually earned a cash prize for reading it in the fine print.
I dont know the exact details. not even sure if its true or not but maybe someone has evidence.
Yes, this really happened. He got $1,000. The TOS said to send a message to an email address and he did. The company actually paid him. They said it took four months for someone to email them after the TOS was released.
Image credits: TonerSlinger
#25I found out our five year contract for argon gas automatically renews if we don’t cancel 365 days before the end date. A salesman was fired from the company and told me I should read the very fine print. One year in and we sent our cancellation form for 2024
#26Spybot S&D asks that you send the devs beer money.
Image credits: pakidara
#27Not exactly weird but when I was buying my car insurance they asked if I had been in any previous accidents (I was) and if I was at fault (I was not). Said rates would only go up if the accident was my fault. Okay cool. So at the end when I’m looking everything over, I notice in the fine print that it says any accidents are automatically considered the driver’s fault unless proven otherwise...so I send them an email and ask. Basically they said I’d have to purchase the policy, THEN contact them with the proof that I wasn’t at fault for the accident. So I bought the policy, went to my state’s DMV website to get the accident report, and email it to the insurance company- one week later I get “refunded” about 1/5 of the policy cost credited to my account. I wonder how many people they’ve ripped off.
#28You cannot use the Java programming language to control a nuclear reactor.
Image credits: grouchy_fox
#29These are a few paraphrased versions of what I had to sign in order to live on campus at my university:
I give my school permission to charge me legal fees that have nothing to do with me.
They also say everyone I know has given up the right to sue the school.
They can kick me out at anytime with little warning, and if I do not leave with in a few days I have to pay a +$100 fee.
They are not responsible for working amenities such as water.
I am aware the school does not own there own dorms, even though the office that handles room and board claims otherwise.
Image credits: 11xomr11
#30I had to read all the terms and conditions when I signed up for student loans. It said that my loans would be forgiven if I die. That made me laugh out loud and doesn't seem like a bad idea sometimes.
#31For no reason at all I read them for a PlayStation Network update. About the 7th page in, it stated that I would be “relinquishing my wallet and all funds within”. I didn’t update but just assumed it was fancy legal talk(mind you I was in my late teens) so I didn’t report it. 3 days later I found out that the update was a hack and thousands had their information stole of their PlayStation accounts.
Image credits: Smitty_Werbnjagr
#32I'm taking a cyberlaw and ethics course and this has been a focal point of the class. Terms and conditions leave you basically Powerless and unable to hold companies liable. There were terms and conditions on a site that literally said by accepting the terms, you would give them your first born child. Granted I believe it was a joke or experiment to see how long they could leave it in there unnoticed.
I liked when F-Secure set up an open wifi (I want to say in New York, but I'm probably wrong.. some big city), but to join you had to agree to term & conditions. One of them was that F-Secure takes your first born.
This was obviously a joke to reinforce the crazy s**t we agree to without looking, but was pretty funny.
#33Citymapper, Section 3
*Jetpacks and catapults. These are unproven technologies, and we recommend inexperienced travellers use more conventional means.*
#34Don’t remember the exact wording, but some League-of-Legends-type game included this whole paragraph about how, *by installing this software, you authorize us to monitor every process on your computer, including but not limited to keystrokes, active programs, some of their memory, browser tabs, open files and potentially their contents, and send that info back, at all times,* even if the game wasn’t running.
Safe to assume I did not click agree, and managed to live life having never played that game.
Image credits: kavantoine