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The Lost Art of Reading the Fine Print


Everyday millions of contracts are signed and dated. There is an increasingly amount of online contracts that are also electronically signed.

If you read the Fox News article “7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls“, you will see that it is estimated that “88 percent of people do not read the terms and conditions of a Web site before they make a purchase“.

In that situation 7,500 people accepted a contract that sold their souls to the game company. The company did it to make a point and does not plan on acting on the contractual terms.

This is a perfect example of a growing issue in our society. People are not reading the fine print!

There are many factors that contribute to this problem. I have narrowed the causes down to 3:

The issue of not reading fine print does not only apply to online purchasing, it applies to situations in our everyday life- both online and offline. As a professional, I am in the technology field and although I enjoy every question that my friends, coworkers and acquaintances ask me, most of them can be answered by reading the fine print.

If you are on a website and want to know how to create an account or how to contact the company, more times than not, all you have to do is read the fine print. There is so much information available to us because of the communication advances we have made that all anyone has to do to know something is to read.

Our brains are moving faster than ever and, at times, that is a good thing. At other times, it is not so good. Next time you encounter an error message online you should try to read what it says. Next time you sign a contract- try reading it. You may even find something that benefits you that you didn’t know about.

It is okay to take a breath once in a while and think about something. You don’t always have to make a decision in 5 seconds flat. I am a victim of doing these things as well (how else would have I been inspired to write this?).

As a society and as a online community I believe we owe it to ourselves and to each other to take some time and be thorough and smart about our online business and agreements.


I hope this helps a few people avoid a situation that they would later regret.

If anyone has examples or comments I would love to hear them!

Anson Alexander

I am an author, digital educator and content marketer. I record, edit, and publish content for AnsonAlex.com, provide technical and business services to clients and am an avid self-learner. I have also authored several digital marketing and business courses for LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com).

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