Jesse Willms: The Importance Of Reading Offer Details

Posted by Jesse Willms on April 28, 2011

This week a lot of consumers are angry with Apple because they feel the company has violated their privacy. It was revealed by several tech bloggers that Apple products, including MacBooks and iPhones, send data about the location of your device back to Apple on a regular basis.

People are arguing that this is a violation of their right to privacy, and that once they purchase a product, Apple should not have the right to track them. In America, Congress has even gotten involved in the debate.

The truth is, the customer should have thoroughly read the terms and conditions prior to buying the product. Before you can turn on any Apple product you must agree to its user agreement, which states: “Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.”

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. What’s happened here is that most people don’t read the offer details before agreeing to the terms. You can hardly blame a company for doing exactly what they told you they would do – and what you agreed to.

Beyond that, the feature is useful to users. It allows police to find your computer or iPhone when it is stolen. Obviously, it benefits Apple as well by allowing them and third-party application developers to send you targeted ads.

Cases like these come up in business all the time. Users blindly agree to offer details and terms of service without reading them, and then are shocked when they are expected to live up to their side of the agreement.

This is a problem easily solved – simply read all user agreements and make sure you understand them before you click “yes.” If there is some part of an offer detail you don’t understand, contact their customer service department and ask them what it really means.

If you do so, you will protect yourself and only enter into legally binding agreements you are comfortable with. You’ll avoid having to talk to customer service and becoming upset when the terms are explained to you.

Offer details and terms of service are included on websites and at the time of product activation for a reason – to protect both the consumers and the companies they are buying products or services from. It doesn’t take very long to read them, and you can save yourself from a lot of hassle down the line.

As the old saying goes, “Look before you leap,” and you’ll protect yourself. It’s an important and easy thing to do.