According to Forbes less than 1 in 1000 read the fine print online. That is by clicking through screen after screen of legalese (30,000 words in some cases). Normal procedure is to click “I Agree” and move on as it’s a lost cause trying to decode the fine print.
In the physical world, the chance of anybody reading the fine print is even more remote, close to zero. Unless you’re a lawyer specialized in contracting, them guys get paid to read the fine print in case the unthinkable happens. It’s their job. Cost is not a issue.
I am no lawyer, but in my previous working life, I managed government contracts. There, 30,000 words does even come close as the government is required to fully disclose. See “Federal Acquisition Regulations,” the government’s bible on procurement on items from toilet seat to tanks among other things. It is mind boggling.
What is then the right thing to do? To read or not to read the fine print?
Here are my recommendations: 1) Make sure you know what you want (if you don’t, no one can really help you). 2) Use the search function to check if the key features you want are covered in the fine print (e.g. warranty, cancellation, etc.). If not, 3) Seek clarification.
If the document is non-electronic, the only options are 1) physically read the fine print or 2) accept the risks like most people do.
How would you handle the fine print?