Do you read the terms and conditions? Probably not. No one does. And so, inevitably, 22,000 people have now found themselves legally bound to 1000 hours of community service, including, but not limited to, cleaning toilets at festivals, scraping chewing gum off the streets and “manually relieving sewer blockages”.
The (hopefully) joke clause was inserted in the terms and conditions of Manchester-based wifi company Purple for a period of two weeks, “to illustrate the lack of consumer awareness of what they are signing up to when they access free wifi”. The company operates wifi hotspots for a number of brands, including Legoland, Outback Steakhouse and Pizza Express.
Purple also offered a prize for anyone who actually read the terms and conditions, and flagged up the “community service clause”. Just one person claimed it.
It’s no surprise that people will agree to anything to get free wifi. In 2014, cybersecurity firm F-Secure ran a similar experiment in London, operating a wifi hotspot that anyone could use – in exchange for their firstborn child. The so-called “Herod clause” was clearly stated in the terms and conditions, and six people still signed up. Though it’s not clear how many of them simply dislike their eldest children.