Sunday, January 22, 2006

User Agreements: Stop the Madness

At some point in recent history, user agreements for consumer services got out of control. We all have ignored multiple screens of legalese just to get to the “I Agree” button. The irony is, now that everyone ignores such agreements, it doesn’t matter how ridiculously long they are. So they just keep getting worse.

For example, I got an email asking me to review Hertz #1 Gold’s updated terms and conditions. So I followed the link to the Hertz Web site and found the usual dense thicket of verbiage—which went on for 39 pushes of the “Page Down” key before I reached the bottom, where I could register my agreement. Out of morbid curiosity, I did a “Print Preview” and found that if I printed the screen on standard 8.5x11 paper, it would be 47 pages long.

Now I know that the rental-car business has lots of issues, including different laws for different states and countries. But people, there must be a better way.

Here’s an initial suggestion: The introductions says, “It is not necessary to read Terms and Conditions for rentals in countries in which you are not enrolled to use Gold.” Then why are you showing me those T&Cs in the first place? Under other circumstances, the Hertz Web site knows who I am and what I am enrolled in. Why the sudden amnesia?

To those involved in creating and implementing such agreements, stop the madness!

1 comment:

  1. I did the exact same thing out of the exact same curiousity. Though part of my drive was simply NOT to get those 47 pages in the mail, as I was led to believe would happen if I didn't do it online.