Some 22,000 users who used Purple’s public Wi-Fi service and agreed to the service’s terms and conditions unwittingly consented to performing public services.
We’ve all likely cracked a joke about selling our souls through accepting the lengthy Terms and Conditions most public services – such as free Wi-Fi- require, and now one British company has succeeded in enrolling some 22,000 unwitting participants into community services.
Purple, which provides public Wi-Fi hotspots in Legoland, Outback Steakhouse and Pizza Express in the United Kingdom, quietly added a new Community Service Clause to its Terms and Conditions which effectively mandated those who accepted the terms to perform menial tasks.
The tasks in question? They read as:
- “Cleansing local parks of animal waste
- Providing hugs to stray cats and dogs
- Manually relieving sewer blockages
- Cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events
- Painting snail shells to brighten up their existence
- Scraping chewing gum off the streets”
The irony is that over 22,000 people accepted Purple’s Terms and Conditions without reading through the agreement – or much less disputing it. Thankfully, Purple has clarified that it does not have any intent to hold users to the agreement.
The company furthered the stunt by offering any person who read the agreement and summarily contacted the company a prize – needless to say, only one such consumer did so.
Though the move could be seen as Purple having some fun with its users, there is a more serious reason for the joke – countries belonging to the European Union must, by May 25th of 2018, provide less onerous terms and conditions which includes disclosure of how a consumer’s personal information will be used. Purple has announced that it will be the first company in the EU to meet these requirements.
What are your thoughts? Should companies all move to adopt a leaner Terms and Conditions agreement? Do you imagine you’ve unwittingly agreed to clean toilets, anywhere? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!