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Read the Terms of Service - or Lose Your Soul

David Silversmith
David Silversmith

Admit it - you never read the terms of service (TOS) when you setup accounts on the Internet.  Well, you are not alone, but last month 7,500 shoppers legally sold their souls. 

British computer game retailer, GameStation, revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers. The retailer added an "immortal soul clause" to the contract signed by shoppers before making any online purchases last month. The clause states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul. 

Specifically the clause said "By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from or one of its duly authorised minions."

Gamestations terms of service, for that day at least, also said that "we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction."

Steve Wind-Mozley, General Manager of Online for Gamestation said the store had expected to “acquire hundreds of souls as customers continually ignore the small print.”  The terms of service were updated on April Fool's Day as a gag, but the retailer also wanted to make a very real point about people never reading those long legal documents filled with fine print, faithfully clicking ahead into the products and services they want to use.  In fact they proved their point - most people don't read the online terms and conditions of shopping, and companies are free to insert whatever language they want into the documents.

While all shoppers during the test were given a simple tick box option to opt out, very few did.  Had they opted out, they would have been rewarded with a £5 voucher. Based on the number of people who ticked the box, GameStation reports that 88 percent of people do not read the terms and conditions of a Web site before they make a purchase.

Fortunately, the folks who were fooled can rest easy.  The company noted that it would not be enforcing the ownership rights and planned to e-mail customers nullifying any claim on their soul.

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