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(Some Guy)   AT&T turns user agreement into a 2,500 page mess of legal jargon, then sends it to your junk mail folder   (redtape.msnbc.com) divider line 101
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10879 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Oct 2008 at 1:41 PM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2008-10-10 01:20:05 PM
She added that the e-mail was successfully delivered to millions of other customers and the firm has received no other complaints.

Well, duh. Nobody checks their junk mail box and nobody expected that email.
 
2008-10-10 01:44:28 PM
Because AT&T is a great bastion of customer service...
 
2008-10-10 01:45:05 PM
Oops, I'm sorry. According to section 15, clause 43.3.2.1.6.A, subsection C12, part 14, your subscriber rate has doubled this month. It was right there in the agreement we sent out!
 
2008-10-10 01:46:08 PM
I'm glad that my monthly fees are going toward paying some asshole to compile a 2,500-page legal agreement.
 
2008-10-10 01:46:34 PM
Sounds like they are taking a page out of Comcast's book.
 
2008-10-10 01:47:14 PM
I feel sorry for the guy that has to write it all down. Talk about flaming the messenger. Sheesh.
 
2008-10-10 01:47:18 PM
Phone companies are usually known for their easy to understand bills and contracts, so this is pretty surprising.
 
2008-10-10 01:47:43 PM
I guess I'm lucking out with the ATT wireless service, at least. Have yet to have any billing or outage problems, but now I'm sure this statement has just ruined my perfect streak.
 
2008-10-10 01:48:13 PM
Because if it's part of a contract, it's automatically just! AT&T is just an extension of big brother now anyway.
 
2008-10-10 01:48:13 PM
Reach out and screw someone.
 
2008-10-10 01:48:39 PM
It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard."
 
2008-10-10 01:49:20 PM
The Angry Hand of God: Sounds like they are taking a page out of Comcast's book.

That's one page? I'd hate to see the size of Comcrap's book!
 
2008-10-10 01:51:40 PM
/sarcasm on
That's why we need more de-regulation!!!
/sarcasm off
//end
///goto 10
 
2008-10-10 01:52:56 PM
In retrospect, mentioning that you could get free Viagra with the purchase of a new iPhone was a bit of a strategic blunder.
 
2008-10-10 01:53:21 PM
KayakDude: /sarcasm on
That's why we need more de-regulation!!!
/sarcasm off
//end
///goto 10


That program will never get to 50 because it ends at 40.
 
432
2008-10-10 01:53:37 PM
cache.gizmodo.com
 
2008-10-10 01:53:51 PM
AT&T's customer service sucks... but they are quite responsive to complaints to the BBB.
Not all places are, but they settled fast after a year and a half of arguing with them, after one BBB complaint.
 
2008-10-10 01:53:54 PM
Are the vogons going to destroy earth now? Someone look that up in the document.
 
2008-10-10 01:55:11 PM
I like AT&T.

I wasn't able to get service at my home address, so I called every other month. Each time their service rep said they were going to do something on their end, I had to turn off the phone, turn it on, and it would work. It didn't.

Finally I called to cancel, because I did not have service at home address, I wanted the cancelation fee removed. The manager would not do so, stating that they can't guarantee service inside a building, because of building materials.

I submitted an online complaint to the FCC. I got phone calls from an AT&T escalation manager, but never returned them. Eventually I got in the mail a written to me & the FCC (I'm assuming they sent them a copy) -- it basically stated they investigated and found that I did attempt to resolve by calling, that they could not tell if I had service, and that they were returning the fee.

They played by the book, and that is all they need to do.

/all you other hatemongers
//learn to read,
///waaah but its complicated
////well not the worlds fault your mom failed you
 
2008-10-10 01:55:17 PM
Still, on AT&T's Web site, the burden is placed squarely on the consumer to spot and read such e-mails. Failure to read them will be interpreted as consent to the new contract terms.

I've always wondered if anyone has tried the reverse. Send AT&T a letter/email/fax modifying the agreement, stating that failure to respond means they consent.

considering the bureaucratic mess I'm sure exists there, somebody somewhere would get away with it.
 
2008-10-10 01:57:59 PM
Oh my GOD!
A farking cellphone plan should not exceed 1 farking page for gods sake.!
2500pages!
(ok this is going to be one interesting request to AT&T
I'm Visually impaired and leagiless terms are garbled by modern text to speech apps.

I'd like my contract in audio format red by a human with proper pronounceation along with a large print and brail version pleas. in grade one brail (eg no shorthand) (grade one is letter for letter grade 2 uses abbreviations grade 3 is serous shorthand almost no one can truly read it's like worse than T9 and LeEt sPeEk roled up into one :p)

so i'll be expecting my 7 boxes of 6 volumes each in a week think you vary much
 
2008-10-10 01:58:58 PM
Failure to read them will be interpreted as consent to the new contract terms

lol.. try and hold that up in court.
 
2008-10-10 02:02:39 PM
Zagroseckt: Oh my GOD!
A farking cellphone plan should not exceed 1 farking page for gods sake.!
2500pages!
(ok this is going to be one interesting request to AT&T
I'm Visually impaired and leagiless terms are garbled by modern text to speech apps.

I'd like my contract in audio format red by a human with proper pronounceation along with a large print and brail version pleas. in grade one brail (eg no shorthand) (grade one is letter for letter grade 2 uses abbreviations grade 3 is serous shorthand almost no one can truly read it's like worse than T9 and LeEt sPeEk roled up into one :p)

so i'll be expecting my 7 boxes of 6 volumes each in a week think you vary much


/relax... internet
/INTERNET
/let me show you...
 
2008-10-10 02:07:20 PM
It doesn't appear that the author, nor AT&T for that matter, understand that just because a term & condition may be in writing, posted online, or whatever, does not automatically make it binding. I'm willing to bet that if someone actually took these facts into court (2,500 pages of text, received via e-mail, to a spam folder), any competent judge would step in.

It's unreasonable to expect people to (1) read 2,500 pages, and (2) monitor a spam folder whose sole purpose is to weed out e-mails that aren't relevant to my interests.
 
2008-10-10 02:07:22 PM
icstepec: I like AT&T.

I wasn't able to get service at my home address, so I called every other month. Each time their service rep said they were going to do something on their end, I had to turn off the phone, turn it on, and it would work. It didn't.

Finally I called to cancel, because I did not have service at home address, I wanted the cancelation fee removed. The manager would not do so, stating that they can't guarantee service inside a building, because of building materials.

I submitted an online complaint to the FCC. I got phone calls from an AT&T escalation manager, but never returned them. Eventually I got in the mail a written to me & the FCC (I'm assuming they sent them a copy) -- it basically stated they investigated and found that I did attempt to resolve by calling, that they could not tell if I had service, and that they were returning the fee.

They played by the book, and that is all they need to do.

/all you other hatemongers
//learn to read,
///waaah but its complicated
////well not the worlds fault your mom failed you


Mom failed us because we dont feel its right to be forced to spend weeks reading a 2500 page contract full of legal jargon? Sorry, all of our mom's couldn't be corporate lawyers who read us legal terms as bed time stories.
 
2008-10-10 02:09:44 PM
Is there a copy of this 2500 page agreement online somewhere?
 
2008-10-10 02:10:49 PM
I work for AT&T so I'm really getting a kick out of these replies.

/really
//I do
 
2008-10-10 02:11:58 PM
I love how these corporations own control of the "contract". They can change them whenever they want, pretty much add in whatever verbiage they want, and you merely have to accept it. We can't change our terms when we want to. And if we refuse to accept the new terms, they just cancel the contract, and then charge us early termination fees.
Don't you love being a second class citizen next to corporations?
 
2008-10-10 02:12:30 PM
www.nbp.org
This is (ONE) Volume of harry potter and the half blood prince.
One of 13. and this is in eather grade 2 or 3 double sided pages.

Just go give folks an idea of just how many volumes a 2500 page contract would take up. in grade 1 HUGE

Grade 2 cuts grade 1 down by more than half normally
 
2008-10-10 02:13:34 PM
ReverendJasen: And if we refuse to accept the new terms, they just cancel the contract, and then charge us early termination fees.

You can easily fight this.
 
2008-10-10 02:13:49 PM
FTA :

It's a lousy way to send it out, but unfortunately the vast majority of courts have held that this kind of notice is enough to create a binding contract," he said. "I think that courts are stuck in this 19th century vision of contracts being something that are formed when two sophisticated people sit down at a table and haggle out terms, and the transfer of standard form rules by e-mails, in settings where no one will read them, highlights ... the need for a new paradigm of contract law.

Do we think that some kind of Ombudsman/agent should be on the client side ? I think this owuld not be a bad idea. On the other hand, I am sure that large service providers who take for granted their ability to unilaterally change contact terms (I'm looking at you , corporate america) would call this 'socializm'. It is a form of 'collective bargaining' after all ... each change might bring a 10% dropout rate before any negotiation would begin.
 
2008-10-10 02:14:49 PM
To summarize:

1. We are unilaterally free to change the terms of service at any time, and may bury any changes in a 2,500 page document full of legal jargon.

2. Those changes may include such things a waiving your Constitutional right to a jury.

3. We may require you to settle all complaints against us by submitting to a referee of our choosing, in a location of our choosing.

4. You are responsible to read and understand everything we send you.

5. We may electronically deliver a document, and manipulate it so you'll never know it was delivered.

6. Whether you see the document or not, by continuing to use our service, your consent to any change is always implied.

The awful part? Absolutely EVERY company does this.

The really awful part? Almost EVERY judge thinks this is kosher.
 
2008-10-10 02:14:51 PM
I think that companies are well within their rights to spell out how they own your ass. I also think they are well within their rights to do it in the most convoluted and tortuously verbose way possible.*


*By viewing this post: you agree, on behalf of yourself, your chosen deity of belief, and on the behalf of every person, living and dead, within a 50 mile radius, to release me from all obligations and waivers arising from any and all agreements, licenses, laws, terms-of-service, confidentiality clauses, non-disclosure agreements, acceptable use policies, verbal deals, and bar tabs that I have entered into. This will be carried out, in perpetuity, from now until the fat lady sings (and even after that, in perpetuity [redundantly so]) without prejudice and without the need to fight for my right to party. Also, by viewing this post, you forfeit any claims to bad grammar, improper spelling, oppressive and flagrant disregard of proper comma use, and disparaging comments regarding any and all subjects pertaining to the user Vibecrusher or his affiliates.
 
2008-10-10 02:15:24 PM
obzerver: Failure to read them will be interpreted as consent to the new contract terms

lol.. try and hold that up in court.


And FTFA:
Consumer attorney Paul Bland... highlights "the need for a new paradigm of contract law."

Agreed, silent approval clauses should be illegal. The "agreement" should require at minimum a reply email of "I agree" to be considered valid!
 
2008-10-10 02:16:55 PM
Zagroseckt: This is (ONE) Volume of harry potter and the half blood prince.
One of 13. and this is in eather grade 2 or 3 double sided pages.

Just go give folks an idea of just how many volumes a 2500 page contract would take up. in grade 1 HUGE

Grade 2 cuts grade 1 down by more than half normally


And why is a Braille version of a Harry Potter book relevant to an email about a 2500 page TOS in print? 2500 pages is huge, but not as huge as you're trying to infer.

/pedant on
Also, the book pictured is "Order of the Phoenix", not "the Half-Blood Prince".
/pedant off
 
2008-10-10 02:17:42 PM
ignorotic: icstepec: I like AT&T.

I wasn't able to get service at my home address, so I called every other month. Each time their service rep said they were going to do something on their end, I had to turn off the phone, turn it on, and it would work. It didn't.

Finally I called to cancel, because I did not have service at home address, I wanted the cancelation fee removed. The manager would not do so, stating that they can't guarantee service inside a building, because of building materials.

I submitted an online complaint to the FCC. I got phone calls from an AT&T escalation manager, but never returned them. Eventually I got in the mail a written to me & the FCC (I'm assuming they sent them a copy) -- it basically stated they investigated and found that I did attempt to resolve by calling, that they could not tell if I had service, and that they were returning the fee.

They played by the book, and that is all they need to do.

/all you other hatemongers
//learn to read,
///waaah but its complicated
////well not the worlds fault your mom failed you

Mom failed us because we dont feel its right to be forced to spend weeks reading a 2500 page contract full of legal jargon? Sorry, all of our mom's couldn't be corporate lawyers who read us legal terms as bed time stories.


You can always send back a letter/email stating that you're incapable of reading all 2,500 pages and that you need a legal summary of the changes to the contract. (you can go so far as stating in which format you wish).

You can even add a clause stating that until the summary is provided that the contract will remain as originally agreed upon.

The worst that can happen is that they cancel your service. If they try to charge you a cancelation fee, present it to the FCC--if they deny you, find a lawyer that will take your case without charge, offering them any profits they can make in exchange.
 
2008-10-10 02:17:52 PM
ReverendJasen: I love how these corporations own control of the "contract". They can change them whenever they want, pretty much add in whatever verbiage they want, and you merely have to accept it. We can't change our terms when we want to. And if we refuse to accept the new terms, they just cancel the contract, and then charge us early termination fees.

If it were a truly free market, every cell phone store would have to have lawyers available to negotiate the contract.
 
2008-10-10 02:18:17 PM
We should write our own terms of service agreements and print it out in really small type and mail it back with the bill.
 
2008-10-10 02:19:46 PM
tekmo: 2. Those changes may include such things a waiving your Constitutional right to a jury.

If they can waive that right, couldn't they also say "You are slaves of AT&T. If you do not report to the detention center, you will be hunted down."
 
2008-10-10 02:21:43 PM
The Icelander: tekmo: 2. Those changes may include such things a waiving your Constitutional right to a jury.

If they can waive that right, couldn't they also say "You are slaves of AT&T. If you do not report to the detention center, you will be hunted down."


No. Contracts are negotiated all the time where parties waive certain legal rights. It's not at all uncommon where a contract will limit dispute resolution to certain courts, require a bench trial, or arbitration.
 
2008-10-10 02:23:18 PM
Just use an independent ISP, they are cheaper, better service, better speed, etc. I'm paying $30 for 5000/800 dsl. When I call the customer support line, it goes straight to a really smart guy, no waiting, no escalation, just a really nice, knowledgeable guy there to help me. The actual service is just the same as what Bell offers, just cheaper and with better customer service, no caps, and no exploitive contract.

I use these guys:
http://www.tamcotec.com

You can find a bunch of independent ISPs here:
http://www.dslreports.com/ (USA)
http://www.canadianisp.ca/ (Canada)
 
2008-10-10 02:24:10 PM
Anyone have any idea whether they must honor a request to provide a hard copy? A concerted effort by enough customers could do a good deal of damage to AT&T through printing and postage costs, perhaps even enough for them to consider a more practical "agreement."
 
2008-10-10 02:24:38 PM
FuzzyNoNoseChimp: No. Contracts are negotiated all the time where parties waive certain legal rights. It's not at all uncommon where a contract will limit dispute resolution to certain courts, require a bench trial, or arbitration.

That still doesn't mean they can't waive our right to free speech. It would be very easy to say "If you say anything bad about this contract, we get to sue you."
 
2008-10-10 02:25:29 PM
Lars The Canadian Viking: Just use an independent ISP, they are cheaper, better service, better speed, etc.

It's cute that you think most people in the US have more than two choices for their ISP.
 
2008-10-10 02:25:30 PM
ConstyXIV: And why is a Braille version of a Harry Potter book relevant to an email about a 2500 page TOS in print? 2500 pages is huge, but not as huge as you're trying to infer.

/pedant on
Also, the book pictured is "Order of the Phoenix", not "the Half-Blood Prince".
/pedant off


Whops grabbed the wrong image :p my bad
Well considering how short that book was in relation to the rest and it was only 13 volumes :) just reinforces my statement about the hassle there going to go through sending that copy.

2500 standard pages is one LONG farking book 2500 legil pages is huge and someone PLEASE how the fark do you spell legil blasted Firefox keeps giving me the wrong words no mater HOW i type it in ;p
 
2008-10-10 02:25:49 PM
Really, does this surprise anyone, or am I just one of ten people on Fark old enough to remember the way that the original AT&T, then the "Baby Bells", and now the 'new' AT&T (Here's the new boss, same as the old boss!) do business? It's "screw the customer by burying them in legalese, baffling with bull sheeit, and claiming no fault."

Not only was I a victim of the monopoly's bad practices, I wound up working for several different divisions of AT&T before I quit in disgust.

Anyone remember the AT&T 'Direct Bill Calling Card'?
The company had an agreement with the U.S. Government where they would force impressionable young recruits to sign up for one in boot camp whether they wanted/needed one or not, and then the same soldiers would get in a sheeitload of trouble when they got hit with liens and credit issues for not paying for bills that they really didn't know that they had (it billed a min monthly payment if you used it or not.)

AT&T Universal (Credit) Card used to have this mystery "minimum monthly finance charge" of .50 c. that would bill to millions of customers every month, whether or not they had a minimum balance to get "fee'd" for. Allegedly it was a bug in the system, and allegedly it was going to go away with SR-II... then SR III... then they switched to a totally different, Windows-based system, and wouldn't you know it? the mystery fee "bug" was still in the code, after six years of code revisions. Bug my ass, that was a feature! Think of the millions of dollars that they collected from the trusting and unwary public over all that time.

I remember several years back, a very informed higher-up farker who worked inside AT&T management laid out the entire blueprint for how the FCC was suddenly going to reverse themselves, allowing enough of the old Bell companied to merge again to form a new de facto monopoly. I can't remember who he was, but I wish he would come back and tell us more, unless he just gave up and left it all behind.
 
zz9
2008-10-10 02:27:22 PM
Big deal. Guy should read the contract and quit whining.

This post is meant for educational purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. List each check separately by bank number. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Postage will be paid by addressee. Subject to approval. This is not an offer to sell securities. Apply only to affected area. May be too intense for some viewers. Do not stamp. Use other side for additional listings. For recreational use only. Do not disturb. All models over 18 years of age. If condition persists, consult your physician. No user-serviceable parts inside. Freshest if eaten before date on carton. Subject to change without notice. Times approximate. Simulated picture. No postage necessary if mailed in the United States. Breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement. For off-road use only. As seen on TV. One size fits all. Many suitcases look alike. Contains a substantial amount of non-tobacco ingredients. Colors may, in time, fade. We have sent the forms which seem to be right for you. Slippery when wet. For office use only. Not affiliated with the American Red Cross. Drop in any mailbox. Edited for television. Keep cool; process promptly. Post office will not deliver without postage. List was current at time of printing. Return to sender, no forwarding order on file, unable to forward. Not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform. At participating locations only. Not the Beatles. Penalty for private use. See label for sequence. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. Do not write below this line. Falling rock. Lost ticket pays maximum rate. Your cancelled check is your receipt. Add toner. Place stamp here. Avoid contact with skin. Sanitized for your protection. Be sure each item is properly endorsed. Sign here without admitting guilt. Slightly higher west of the Mississippi. Employees and their families are not eligible. Beware of dog. Contestants have been briefed on some questions before the show. Limited time offer, call now to insure prompt delivery. You must be present to win. No passes accepted for this engagement. No purchase necessary. Processed at location stamped in code at top of carton. Shading within a garment may occur. Use only in well-ventilated area. Keep away from fire or flame. Replace with same type. Approved for veterans. Booths for two or more. Check here if tax deductible. Some equipment shown is optional. Price does not include taxes. No Canadian coins. Not recommended for children. Prerecorded for this time zone. Reproduction strictly prohibited. No solicitors. No alcohol, dogs, or horses. No anchovies unless otherwise specified. Restaurant package, not for resale. List at least two alternate dates. First pull up, then pull down. Call toll free before digging. Driver does not carry cash. Some of the trademarks mentioned in this product appear for identification purposes only. Record additional transactions on back of previous stub. Decision of judges is final.

This supersedes all previous notices.
 
2008-10-10 02:28:34 PM
Know what would be awesome? If consumers en masse started enclosing a document with their next bill payment that flatly rejected arbitration agreements, etc.

If one person does it, the company will just terminate them.

If everybody does it, they really can't.
 
2008-10-10 02:30:28 PM
The Icelander: That still doesn't mean they can't waive our right to free speech. It would be very easy to say "If you say anything bad about this contract, we get to sue you."

I understand where you are coming from, but I think you are taking it to an irrational level. They can sue you if you talk bad about the company already. It's called libel/slander.
 
2008-10-10 02:31:11 PM
Zagroseckt: Whops grabbed the wrong image :p my bad
Well considering how short that book was in relation to the rest and it was only 13 volumes :) just reinforces my statement about the hassle there going to go through sending that copy.

2500 standard pages is one LONG farking book 2500 legil pages is huge and someone PLEASE how the fark do you spell legil blasted Firefox keeps giving me the wrong words no mater HOW i type it in ;p

They aren't sending them out physically. Even if they were, it wouldn't be a major deal, they do the same thing with the yellow/white pages. They're posting them on their website, and sending them the link to their email, and AT&T's own spam filters seem to have eaten the emails. And, as per the TOS, it's perfectly "legal".
 
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