God is in the details… the devil, in the fine print
In our everyday mundane lives, we are used to clicking on the ‘I accept’ button for almost everything we do, without ever reading the fine print.
Whether it is to use services from an internet service provider or to get a new telephone connection, or even to open a new bank account, we are led (mainly due to the laziness of reading through a 6 page agreement, written in legalese) to blindly sign / accept the terms before we use any service / product.
Think about it… you are using a computer to access this blog. When you purchased the computer, you ‘Agreed’ to the terms & conditions from the manufacturer. After which you ‘Agreed’ to the terms and conditions from the OS provider. Then you ‘Agreed’ to the terms and conditions of the software provider. Then ‘Agreed ‘ to the terms and conditions of the browser. You have in your individual capacity, signed at least two formal (and binding) legal agreements, with large multi billion dollar organizations in order to read this article.
The fact is that if you were to read these agreements, I doubt if you would accept the terms. You are in effect indemnifying every product / service provider from taking any responsibility towards any deficiency in service.
Take a demat account for instance. When confronted with an agreement that almost parallels the thickness of the ‘New Complete Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary – Letters A-Z’, your investment advisor will confidently tell you that there is nothing to worry about and ‘if you wish’ you could go through the document before you sign it.
However, the daunting task of reading an agreement written in a language which is a cross between Greek, Latin and English, stretching over 80 pages and requiring over 60 signatures leads you to trust them. Blindly.
Read it carefully and you will realize that you have sold your body, heart, soul and everything that’s left, to the company… twice over. In short the agreement says (from the perspective of the company) that if it so desires, what’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is theirs too!
So what are your options?
- Stop signing agreements.
Which in effect means that you should donate all your property to charity, sell all your worldly possessions, find a nice secluded spot in the mountains and say goodbye to the world.
Of course there might be a few more agreements that the charity will ask you to sign when you donate your property. Look at the bright side. These are the last agreements you will be signing!
- Hire a lawyer as your personal assistant.
This way you get the best of both worlds. A person who can assist you in your day-to-day stuff and also vet every agreement you need to sign.
Of course this comes with its own pitfalls. For instance you would be shelling out most of your earnings to afford your PA. Lawyers charge by the hour and they’re not cheap.
Also be prepared to have mini mutinies in your office, because your subordinates and colleagues would not be used to getting memos and MOMs in legalese. (This meeting hereby witnesseth as follows… hereinafter and hereinunder… you know the drift)
Neither would they like to receive a summons every time you call for a meeting.
- Study law yourself.
Great option if you have time to spare. Try and get registered with the bar association in your city too (always wondered why lawyers are part of a ‘Bar’ – Probably explains why a lot of my lawyer friends are always high on life… Let’s drink to that!)
Once you understand the law or become a certified lawyer, life becomes much easier. Throwing your knowledge about the understanding of law gets you places.
Firstly, no one messes with you.
Secondly, well… no one messes with you!
- Believe in God.
The best option in case you can’t exercise the rest of the options stated above.
Add this to your prayer…
“As I lay me down to sleep…
Pray the Lord my soul to keep…
And if I sign up without having read…
Pray the Lord I don’t end up dead…”
In a world full of Terms & Conditions and Asterisk marks, all we are left with as the common man (or woman) is to pray regularly, keep our fingers crossed and hope a posse of well paid lawyers don’t target us as their next victim.
*Terms & Conditions Governing this post: By reading this blog article you agree to the terms and conditions governing it. Neither the author nor their family, friends, representatives, agents and/or anyone else in the world, solar system or universe (hereinafter referred to collectively as the ‘party of the first part’), has any liability to you (hereinafter referred to as the ‘party of the second part’) whatsoever for misuse of the advice above.
The ‘party of the second part’ hereby indemnifies the ‘party of the first part’ against any claims, whatsoever, arising from misuse, unauthorized reproduction, or even use of the advice mentioned above, in perpetuity, (which shall be deemed to include birth, life spans, reemergence from the dead, zombie states, rebirths and or any other form of life – discovered or undiscovered).
All disputes shall be settled through an arbitrator appointed mutually between the ‘party of the first part’ and the ‘party of the second part’. In case arbitration proceedings are not successful, the dispute would be settled by a competent court under the jurisdiction of Rajpurgaon, Churu District, Rajasthan (if you even know where that is… I certainly don’t)
In witness whereof the ‘party of the first part’ and the ‘party of the second part’ hereby agree to the terms and conditions (which shall, unless repugnant to the clause, be deemed to include all terms and conditions mentioned and not mentioned above) by clicking on the ‘I Accept’ button!
E.& O.E., R.I.P.!