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Choice Slams Amazon Contracts

Consumer rights outfit Choice has called for a ban on online contracts for IT goods that are too long or are written in legal bizspeak.

It has instanced a 73,198-word contract issued by Amazon for would-be subscribers to its Kindle e-book reader, claiming it would take almost nine hours to read carefully – and contains many clauses that would be unfair under Australian Consumer Law.

Choice spokesperson Tom Godfrey used the word “ridiculous” to describe the Amazon demand. “Right now, the law protects us from unfair legal terms. But we think the practice of expecting a customer to spend hours of their lives reading a contract for a simple product is unfair,” Godfrey said.

For instance, he said, one clause in the Amazon contract seeks to lock consumers into an arbitration process in the USA if they have an unresolved problem with their Kindle.

But in fact under Australian Consumer Law, if the Kindle is faulty, all Aussie users have a fully accepted right to a remedy direct from the retailer or manufacturer – in Australia.

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