Consumers Council of Canada report only scatches surface

I saw the press release at:

just now. I guess it didn’t get much publicity when it came out.

It’s very annoying to have your full report behind a Terms and Conditions click through page. In fact, it’s almost completely makes the point that now I don’t trust Consumers Council of Canada, since you are collecting information on me in order to read the report.

Is this what CIRA funded research is intended to do?

Why not have it available in HTML, so that Google can find it better, and so that people can link to it and discuss it? Then I could link directly to a specific paragraph in twitter or google or in email. My god, we were producing linkable scientific papers back in 1994 at the dawn of the world wide web… To quote you: “IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!” but, apparently, hitting File-SaveAS-HTML is. Your PDF generator failed to even generate internal links, so I can’t even jump to a section from the ToC.

Your recommendations are good, but way way too simplistic.

They fail in a specific way:

  • there are no negative consequences to lawyers who draft overly complex “CYA” terms of service.
  • why are law societies not involved here?

meanwhile, a lawyer who fails to include some codicil in the T&C could get sued by the company for negligence. But, if a judge throws the T&C out as “too complex”, there is no impact on the lawyer who wrote them. I’d say they should be disbarred or face some kind of law society based discipline.

I have first hand experience with this as the project manager who tried to get the laywer to rewrite the 14 T&C into something sane.

The suggestion to have graphics artist draft these agreements is actually a really good one.

It is my understanding that EULAs that can not be read until after purchase are not legal in Canada.

The word standard appears a few times in your document, but you make no recommendation towards adopting some set of standard language. This would be a role for provincial consumer protection legislation to become involved.

This could be like the Creative Commons License effort.

You also did not mention Terms of Service; Didn’t Read.

an attempt to characterize user agreements.

I would encourage CIRA to fund another round of research.

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