I’ve Got No Choice With Apple’s New Terms

No negotiations. No grace period. Agree or stay away. Agree is the only choice you’re given–literally and figuratively!

I picked up a new app for my iPhone tonight. That meant going to the apps store where a new license agreement was waiting for me.

I pasted my screencap in at a larger than normal size so you could easily see what I saw. The agreement is 62 screens long!

I really had no choice. In order to properly bring my iPhone updated and enhanced software I have to agree. No negotiations. No grace period. Agree or stay away. Agree is the only choice you’re given–literally and figuratively!

That sucks.

What is it that Apple wants that takes up 62 pages? What do they want today they didn’t want yesterday? Why can they change the rule after I’ve already bought the phone and gotten locked into their system?

There’s a good reason I feel powerless.

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did.

5 thoughts on “I’ve Got No Choice With Apple’s New Terms”

  1. The most oppressive part of the contract is probably an arbitration provision. See if you can find that. The courts are starting to catch up to the abuse of this clause.

    Without lengthy form contracts, you would be paying a lot more for that product. There are a few reasons for this, other than the obvious one that it removes some of your rights through disclose. (But there are limits on what you can give away regardless of what it says.) Unfortunately, form contracts are a necessity. Imagine if people could walk into an Apple Store and cut their own deals with the underpaid sales rep. It wouldn’t work. Or when you went to the Hertz counter, you negotiated that doozy. Negotiation may work in the car dealership model, but only for certain terms like price. Sales are more controlled and supervised. But the buying experience isn’t so hot- which drives people to self-standardize their purchase on the internet. I’d rather buy an iPad any day then buy a car.

    If everyone cut their own deals, Apple would have no control over its economics and its risk. We’d pay for that in price and slower innovation.

    Now- 64 pages? Could it be simplified and put in plainer English? Probably. That’s what Elizabeth Warren is promoting right now as part of financial reform. But…if there’s a term in there, that if you knew about it, you’d absolutely reject the whole deal- a court could invalidate that clause. It can happen. But you’d probably have to go to arbitration to do it. Hence the procedural issue, which can make this Kafka-esque.

    The reality? Nobody challenges these things- unless something damaging is in there that results in a class action. And in class actions… the lawyers win, the company loses, and you get a check for $0.15.

    So what am I rambling about? This stinks- it’s a necessary evil- but it could be improved.

  2. What Im really uncomfortable with is the fact that iTunes forces you to update your credit card information once it expires. To date, I have never purchased an app on the iPhone.

    The ease with which one could accidentally purchase an app is too risky and Apple states in that 65 page agreement that “no refunds once purchased.”

    Simple solution: load a gift credit card number on there.

  3. I’m not a lawyer, so I’d be curious to know if agreements like this–written in impenetrable legalese, entered into under duress–actually stand up in court.

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