This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

10 Things You Didn't Know You Signed

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- If you have ever installed software, you are probably a liar.

Any program you add to your hard drive, or Web service you use, will come with a set of rules, detailed in the Terms of Service or End User License Agreement. These are the pages and pages of text the majority of folks might, at best, skim the first few paragraphs of before clicking "I Agree" and getting on with life.

You may get an unpleasant surprise if you click "agree" without reading software and Web user agreements.

You may be surprised to find what you have agreed to via "shrinkwrap" or "click-through" agreements.

To make the case that no one actually pores through all that legalese, the software company PC Pitstop included instructions on how to claim a $1,000 prize via email within its EULA. It took more than 3,000 installations before an alert user noticed the hidden award.

GameStation, a video game retailer based in the U.K. had some similar fun with its online terms of service, giving it "a nontransferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul." Anyone who called them out on the demand got a coupon that knocked a few bucks off their next purchase. The company later relented and decided against harvesting any of the more than 7,500 souls to which it was entitled.

A survey by Stanford University found that 97% of users automatically hit "agree" when faced with a user agreement. A similar study by Carnegie Mellon University in 2009, published in I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, found that actually reading through every word of all that fine print would be very time-consuming -- in the course of a year it could add up to as much as eight days of non-stop reading for the average user.

"We contend that the time to read privacy policies is, in and of itself, a form of payment," Aleecia McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor wrote. "Instead of receiving payments to reveal information, website visitors must pay with their time to research policies in order to retain their privacy."

Estimating the "value of time" as 25% of average hourly salary for leisure and twice wages for time at work, they estimated that "the national opportunity cost for just the time to read policies is on the order of $781 billion" and upward of $365 billion if the pages were merely skimmed. The study urged the Federal Trade Commission to step in if businesses fail to improve the readability of their agreements.
1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
INTC $30.28 0.00%
MSFT $49.87 0.00%
TWC $212.11 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs