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back to article Website terms unenforceable due to unlimited right to amend

Website terms were unenforceable because a provision on the right to change them in future was unqualified, a US court has ruled. Existing terms were 'illusory' because of the threat that future changes could apply retroactively, the court found. A woman is suing video rental firm Blockbuster but the company said that its online …

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Anonymous Coward

Contract law

["Parties to a contract have no obligation to check the terms on a periodic basis to learn whether they have been changed by the other side. Indeed, a party can’t unilaterally change the terms of a contract; it must obtain the other party’s consent before doing so."

"This is because a revised contract is merely an offer and does not bind the parties until it is accepted,"]

Such a pity that this doesn't apply to UK law. If it did a number of ISPs would be in the poo for their changes to their terms & conditions. Bastards!

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'dont sue us' clause

..although i can understand the desire in these litigitious times, but seriously how can ANY company opt out of the rule of law with a "You can't sue us" clause.

More and more these days, consumers have to be lawyers to even be able to read the terms and the (often) unfair exemptions to basic rights they claim.

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Silver badge
Pirate

It never rains but it pours.

Hmmm? ...... I wonder what that ruling would do to a Party Political Promise which was subsequently broken once Powerful Office had been gained? Would it be forced to call an immediate General Election for a revised/renewed Mandate?

Or is politics different and you don't have to abide by your promises at all, but just be prepared to make up ideas on an ad hoc daily basis with your friends and lobbying advisors?

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Could this be the same for software?

After all opening the packet means you accept the terms and conditions.

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Silver badge

I'm not a lawyer....

... but IIRC in the UK such things are covered under the Unfair Contract Terms act which specifically prohibits such restrictions being imposed by a business on a consumer.

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Anonymous Coward

Tis Was

"Harris is a customer of Blockbuster’s online rental service"

I'm guessing WAS?

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This also applies to credit cards?

OK guys, someone rustle up a sharp lawyer - this is EXACTLY the kind of crap the credit card companies do all the time - you can't sue us, you have to arbitrate, we can change the terms and conditions any time we want, and whatever happens it is all your fault and you will have to pay.

Identical argument - we have a precedent! Lets go get 'em!

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Joke

Now what really matters

What were the videos she rented she didn't want her friends to find out about?

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Silver badge
Alien

@ amanfromMars

I think you should go for a bit of a lie down.

Your comment made complete sense to me. What's more, I agreed with it.

Beam me up Scotty.

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RW
Alien

@ amanfromMars

"... is politics different and you don't have to abide by your promises at all, but just be prepared to make up ideas on an ad hoc daily basis with your friends and lobbying advisors?"

You give far too much credit to the private sector for actually planning ahead. My own experience indicates that private sector management is just as flighty and changeable as public, darting from one Good Idea to another with all the steadiness of a butterfly choosing which Delectable Flower to next sip nectar from.

And as you can see from the case under discussion, this applies to contracts as well, though it's likely restricted to contracts imposed unilaterally on suffering retail customers.

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Bronze badge

Blockbuster gets "busted"

This is from a TEXAS judge, no less. A state that is very business friendly, to say the least!

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credit cards...

Actually ever change my credit card company has made has been notified by post, and contains an option to retain the current T&C at a cost of the card 'locking', the old T&C applying during the time you pay the balance off, and no further changes being made.

I'm assuming that if these sharks don't think the idea of posting it on a website and basically saying 'tough' to anyone who didn't notice would fly, then it probably won't. *they* dare not run the risk of such contracts being rulled out by a court, so they make sure such a ruling would not effect them.

ISPs are a different kettle of aquatic swimming things, but banks seem to know which way it would go, I reckon the likes of ISPs assume no one would risk the costs going to court, and small claims courts don't set a precedence (I think), cheaper to have iffy T&C and settle when challenged, the majority just pay up.

its the same as civil parking 'fines', essentially unenforceable, but many people will pay up.

Also I hear a company that tries the "you can't sue us, because we said so" over here will fine the court disagrees and any penalties will be bigger.

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Unhappy

@ amanfromMars

'Or is politics different and you don't have to abide by your promises at all, but just be prepared to make up ideas on an ad hoc daily basis with your friends and lobbying advisors?'

The answer quite clearly is 'Yes', unfortunately.

FSM, that's depressing.

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