Zappos's crappy EULA found unenforceable, leaving Zappos without a legal leg to stand on

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13 Responses to “Zappos's crappy EULA found unenforceable, leaving Zappos without a legal leg to stand on”

  1. Gene Ehrbar says:

    Wait, I think my head just exploded — isn’t your “by reading this email…” text in itself a “BOGUS AGREEMENT”, or did I miss the joke?

  2. spacedoggy says:

    This EULA horses**t needs to be sorted once and for all.

    Here’s how I think it can be done. with a classic Shylock clause inserted into a popular application that everyone clicks accept to without reading. Flash, Java update, PDF reader, Firefox, etc.

    The clause specifies that by agreeing to this statement you agree to the transmission of personal identifier information and files from your PC. and that you hereby agree to transfer ownership of all your worldly possessions to the owner of the application, including the fruits of all future labour etc, and agree to go work in a east European coal mine or something to pay off the debt.

    And then have someone come claim what is agreed to in a court of law.

    EULAs are designed not to be read, be open ended and to obfuscate the clear laws, by offering the illusion that it is a legally binding contract. But both the author and the user are fully aware that the contract is never read in full. With this in mind, does the ‘I Accept’ button constitute a legal signature? Considering that there is no identifier to the individual who pressed the button, I suspect it’s not.

    • Nonentity says:

      The absolutely wacky clause in a EULA thing has been done, though I don’t think it’s gone to the point of a serious legal battle.  The problem with this tactic is, a court can simply rule a term of the agreement unconscionable, while leaving the rest of the terms in place.  You *might* get some traction if you managed to impact a large enough group of ordinary people, but that would be tough to do and probably end up costing quite a bit of money.

    • Relevant: the South Park episode “Human CentiPad”.

  3. Fogbert says:

    I’m not a lawyer, but it’s my understanding that (in the US, and generally speaking) one cannot waive one’s rights under the law by signing a EULA.  Further, it’s my understanding that the EULA cannot take precedence over law.  An extreme example would be murder.  One cannot agree to be murdered.

    That said, all laws are not created equal, and I imagine that common law takes precedence (hence this judge’s ruling and it’s apparent effect).

  4. B E Pratt says:

    Check out the little proggie called EULAlyzer (free for personal) which seems to do a nice job of reading EULA’s for you and pointing out problem areas.

  5. Thorzdad says:

    That “this agreement subject to change without notice” line isn’t an invention of the internet. Read the fine print on any contract you take with any cell provider, cable company, credit card, etc. It’s pretty standard boilerplate everywhere, and has been for a long time. Online EULAs are late to the game, I’m afraid.

  6. DevinC says:

    “This agreement subject to change without notice” is actually pretty interesting.

    If the entity presenting the contact is saying “We might make changes to the contract text, for future customers”, all is well, though I don’t see why that’s necessary to note in the contract itself.  But that’s not really the issue.

    If they’re trying to say that they can change the contract without telling you, then in what sense is it an “agreement”?  

    And if the issuing entity can change the agreement without notice by this clause, what’s to stop me (or a third party) from doing the same?

    “Yes, well, you raised my cable rates from $44 a month to $48 without telling me, so I feel, under these circumstances, that an amendment to our agreement for a $12 million indemnity payable to myself isn’t unreasonable. And I took out that bit about changing the contract without telling anyone, too, so you can’t change it back.”

    • Peter says:

      The fun part is if they say “This agreement is subject to change without notice”, but forget to specify “by us only.”

      Then YOU get to change it any time you want, too.

      Edit: I’m a moron. See, this is what happens when you don’t read things fully. :P
      Edit2: The problem is I’m pretty sure most of the time they DO cover the “only we can change the agreement.”

      • L_Mariachi says:

        Whenever I hear “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes” I take it as granting me permission to do so.  Okay, will do, thanks for reminding me!

  7. kmoser says:

    By reading this sentence, you absolve yourself of all legal encumbrances you previously agreed to in EULAs. Abracadabra!

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