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July 24, 2017

Free Wi-Fi Users Ignore Terms and Conditions and Get Pranked

Filed under: Business,Computers,Humor,Internet — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:36 am

An Internet company in Manchester, England called Purple decided recently to prove that consumers access free wi-fi services carelessly by not spending the time to click and read the terms and conditions of its use.

Purple terms

The company pranked users for a period of two weeks by tucking a “Community Service Clause” into their public wi-fi terms.


The user may be be required, at Purple’s discretion, to carry out 1,000 hours of community service. This may include the following:

• Cleansing local parks of animal waste
• Providing hugs to stray cats and dogs
• Manually relieving sewer blockages
• Cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events
• Painting snail shells to brighten up their existence
• Scraping chewing gum off the streets

So how many consumers using their free wi-fi services clicked the “accept” button despite being potentially being required shovel poop out of blocked pipes? A staggering 22,000 people! And how many people caught the catch? Exactly one!

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  1. I’ll take “Cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events” for $500, Alex. What is….

    Nice prank. Usually the terms are not often read and when we do try to read the terms its so cryptic and convoluted we give up.

    Comment by Scott — July 24, 2017 @ 7:51 am
  2. I think we have been conditioned to quickly scroll to the bottom, if at all, of most online “agreements” because they are increasingly longer and longer, filled with language and objectives only lawyers could fully appreciate. I can’t remember the last time I actually read the terms of software I bought (oops, software I bought a license for, rented, or otherwise obtained permission to use but decidedly do not own) because it long ago as a class became a boatload of legalese gibberish. Purple merely provided evidence of what the vast majority of users already know.

    Comment by BobF — July 24, 2017 @ 8:25 am
  3. People often assume that consumer laws protect them from agreeing to anything damaging. To make matters worse, so many agreements are written to befuddle. I wonder how many lawyers take the time to read the legalese.

    Comment by Shawn — July 24, 2017 @ 9:37 am
  4. Another trick that companies use when presenting terms and conditions that they’re not keen on having people read in detail is to present the information in a very small window making it hard to read. One site I visited some time ago (don’t remember which one) presented their terms and conditions in a two line window. Imagine trying to read a few pages of conditions where you can only see two lines at a time. Scrolling through was a real delight.

    Comment by John — July 24, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
  5. To tell you the truth, if I found conditions like that in a company’s Terms and Conditions, I would assume that they were just messing with me. I’d readily click “I agree”.

    Comment by Bill — July 24, 2017 @ 8:07 pm
  6. At least they make you check a box because they’re not required to. Shrink wrap contracts and click wrap contracts were invented for a reason. Even governments use something very similar.

    Comment by M11S — July 25, 2017 @ 11:22 am
  7. I will admit that I am one of the people who barely reads terms of service. There are so many services that I need to use in order to be successful or connected that I no longer feel like I have a choice.

    Comment by Wayne — July 26, 2017 @ 10:19 am

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