Terms and Coditions – On interenet, we sign without reading – are they binding?

Standard

We download an application from internet. Upfront a screen comes up asking us to agree there “terms and conditions” , which include that they will change conditions any time and such future change will also bind us.

Are such conditions binding on us? If we refuse to agree, we are denied access to application. It means, we have to say Yes under coercion. We are forced to sign.

Do you think such conditions are legally valid and binding on you?

Whatever is your answer, you may be right. I am not sure.

I am not sure because the world of internet was unknown to makers of Contract laws when they framed this law. The law is developing everyday

The basic principle of a contract is this:

PARTIES TO AN AGREEMENT MUST BE AD IDEM WHILE SIGNING THE AGREEMENT.

It means both the parties must be knowing and agreeing at time of signing about what they are agreeing to. Then only such agreement can be binding.

Whether parties knew what they were signing or not, it is question fact which can only be determined by a court or an arbitrate authority.

There are cases in Indian Court where terms and conditions on website are held not binding unless they are specifically brought to notice of party.

There are cases in Indian courts where it has been held that terms conditions printed in fine prints are not binding unless they were explained to party

The basic idea is : Justice demands that parties are given explicit understanding of terms so as to cause a binding agreement