Consumer Reports: Read the fine print before starting new download on app, website

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — How many times have you used an app, website, or signed an agreement and not even looked at the fine print?

Many simply click “I agree” and start downloading.

Trouble is, when you actually read those very tiny words, you might be surprised at what you’re getting yourself into.

Consumer Reports reveals the most common hidden clauses and what we may all be signing up to.

Guess which app will make you agree to “develop or manufacture nuclear weapons” if you accept the terms?

“Apple iTunes,” said Justin Brookman, Consumer Reports privacy officer.

That’s right, Apple iTunes and there are a lot of other crazy clauses hidden in user agreements.

Jokes aside, fine print could limit your rights if something goes wrong, including language trying to prevent users from posting negative reviews.

Take Intel, which says, “Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

Intel told Consumer Reports that it should protect the company from inaccurate ratings, but hasn’t enforced this lately.

And although many of these clauses are now illegal due to laws passed a few years ago, some companies still include them.

“I think it’s scaremongering. I think they know consumers don’t necessarily know the law. But if you lie about them, if you defame them, then that’s not protected and companies have the right to sue you for it. ‘ said Bachman.

Some even say you can’t sue a company over a dispute.

Instead, you must resolve your issues outside of the courts through arbitration.

AT&T uses language typical of many agreements: “…You are waiving the right to a jury trial or to participate in a class action lawsuit.”

AT&T declined to elaborate on why the company wanted to exclude the possibility of class action lawsuits, but argued that arbitration would be faster and less expensive for consumers.

Consumer advocates say that mandatory arbitration clauses are unfair, but unfortunately there is no way around it, so try to buy products and services that don’t include these clauses in their agreements.

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