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The hidden meaning beneath the "terms & conditions apply".

The different brands & the different schemes comes-up with an attractive packages which makes us believe in those brands & products as well as with the services but there is a section, "terms & conditions apply", which keeps ourselves on a back foot. Lets check it out.

Have you ever have tried to know the dark sides of these "terms & conditions"? Let's try to understand this in the later part of this article.

In the prevailing discount schemes in the market, we can be evident of public hoardings as well as of posters mentioning of discounts under different schemes. Taking instances of the clothing stores, we find that in one store the discount is of 50% but on the other stores, although the discounts have been offered of 50% but the VAT would be extra & the same being charged from the customer.

The "terms & conditions apply" doesn't limited to one brand or a product but to each & every available products & services in the market of whatever variations & ranges. From the needle to the heavy machineries & from the FMCG to the durable commodities, these all have one thing in common, that before using them the customer has to abide by the terms & conditions.

Have you have thought of that while buying a house & taking out a mortgage or a loan, you should expect to read a lot of small print (doubtless printed out on actual sheets of paper — because that's how law firms typically roll). "Purchases & service agreements", rarely get much bigger than property-related transactions so such wordiness is understandable but why should using a free weather app or setting up a new smartphone involve similarly lengthy and antiquated screeds for the tech user to parse?

Do you agree that we hardly have interested or fond of reading the "terms & conditions". Isn't it the case? If the same is the scenario than, let's have few facts of the subjected concern in the below points,

  1. The "terms & conditions", are arranged in a way & being too long too long so that you don't read them & just click "accept"
  2. The "terms & conditions", are written in impenetrable legalese, internationally vague & hyper-qualified language which is designed to make it impossible for the customers or the users to understand & therefore we are agreeing to this anyway
  3. Users have been lied to that their data as safe & the intentionally impenetrable privacy policies have encouraged the customer or to the users to just click "I accept" on the "terms & conditions". With this we expressly agree that the use of or inability to use products & the services are solely the subject matter of the customer or of the users

Let's have few of the instances from our routine lives in the below case studies.

Case study 1

In one another instance, while purchasing a Dell laptop, the vendor had informed of home servicing through their engineers in case the laptop come-up with any hardware or software problems. I still prefer the Dell as the most preferred brand in terms of sale & servicing of laptops but this too is driven by some "terms & conditions" in the way that in the first phase the customer will have to register the problems being faced not leading to appropriate functioning of the laptop. After this some Engineer will ask for your appointment for online troubleshooting as a second step & even if this doesn't get settled than in the third step the appropriate time would be fixed on your comfort & their engineer will visit you as a final phase & do the needful.

While purchasing & during the initial time the customer got the different impression & wasn't aware of the above steps. Suppose that you are staying alone & you are not allowed to have your personal laptops within the official premises. Considering this the business seems not possible.

I don't deny the fact that Dell is offering the best of services but the according to the above scenario the registration of problems being faced till the time the Engineers visit your place & solve your problem is a process which may exceeds two days & if the matter is urgent then the customer would like to prefer to visit the nearest branch for solving the problems.

Take another instance wherein the customer is not a computer savvy then for the remote technician the accessing laptop & instructing the customer wouldn't be the easier job.

Case study 2

For any claim of medical bills or the expenses, the patient needs to get admitted for at least twenty four hours but according to the type of insurance schemes the bed charges would be different. For example, when I was admitted to one of the hospitals in Gurgaon, the claim was settled for the complete amount except for the bed charges. This is because as per the company's policy the claim amount of the bed charges for one day was Rs. 2000.00 per day but the hospital charges of day was Rs. 3000.00 per day. Due to this I had to pay Rs. 2000.00 from my pocket.

Case study 3

This would be the most common phenomenon to any of us having computers or the laptops at home. For any of the operating system or the software, we have agreed to the "terms & conditions", which we haven't gone through. The first thing which we do is to run the software & the second step is to have agreed to the "terms & conditions". If we believe to the fact, than we actually have allowed the software with having an option to pick-up the personal data from our PC & using the same in their own ways. These data can even be sold to others without letting us know. To its very fact that these could even be the financial data or the banking transaction details of ours.

To understand this, we can take an example here wherein we have saved a password so that the data would be safe or at least the access be remain to only few of the members. With this each time we put on the PC, it will ask for the password or else will deny the access. But when there is a system updates, your PC will restart several times without asking you for the password. Like this we got "N" numbers of incidences wherein we unknowingly giving an access to our resources.

In another instance, you must have witnessed the balance deductions in your mobiles. This time you are receiving promotional offers & somehow you agreed to one & you find that your whole balance gone. May be you have accepted for a music tune or your might have shared with the internet with others. There are possibilities that the rates are changed & the customer is not aware of that.


The "terms & conditions" are created in view of keeping businesses to the safest corners so as not to get effected in case the customer goes beyond the given or applicable "terms & conditions" of the products or the services.

There are different pros & cons of the "terms & conditions". In one way wherein this allows you to make appropriate use of in the desired perspective but on the other way round, missing the concise meaning of the "terms & conditions" will put you on the losses. The best instances could be taken of the medical insurance schemes wherein the claims are dependent on the fulfilling of all the criteria. For example, the claim can only be possible when the patient is admitted to the listed hospitals only & in case of missing any of the criteria no claims can be settled.

For every internet sites including with the investment & banking services to that of buying & selling of commodities we are bound to face such strategic acts.


Author: Umesh03 Aug 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

A very informative article regarding the hidden points and cryptic meanings in the terms and conditions which generally people do not read carefully.

Business environment is full of such tricks of the trade and the gullible consumer is only able to recognise it at the end of the day.

While going through the terms and conditions one should be careful enough to see the inclusions and exclusions which are very intelligently and cleverly mentioned in the fine print.

Many times the intentional twist in the language of terms and conditions will do the trick.

Those who do not want to take the trouble of reading the fine print should cross question in details with the vendor to find out the loopholes before purchasing a gadget or equipment or going for a policy or contract etc. That will many times bring clarity to the post-sale scenario.

Author: Varghese29 Dec 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

Very useful and informative article from the author about the "terms & conditions" which we all ignore without even taking care of what it can do or how it can affect us. As pointed out in the article, there are many scenarios where we just click or tick without even reading a bit of the small font prints in order to save time or maybe we are least bothered. The only time we come to know about it is when we actually face a problem like an example given by the author about the bed charge by the insurance company due to the neglected "terms & conditions".

Nowadays, we all hear and watch the advertisements of the mutual funds where they inform that "Mutual fund investments are subjected to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully" in a fast manner. This itself is a way to inform its customers that we ought to read the documents properly before taking the last step but these are always ignored.

We all use smartphones with many apps which help us to make our life easy. The time we download the application and install it on our phone, it asks us to tick on "I Agree" which is actually allowing the application to use our information or data for their purpose. We cannot proceed further without agreeing and we all allow the application to access our pictures, contacts, cameras, gallery, message, etc which is actually very risky but we allow them without even reading the "terms & conditions" of the Application(APP).

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