In some Wifi hotspots, especially by AT&T, new browsers are presented with a login page that requires users to indicate they agree to the terms of use. The terms are hyperlinked, but clicking on the hyperlink results in an error that the user has not logged in to the network and cannot view the page with the terms until they agree to those terms and log in.

ISPs require that customers agree to pay an amount which includes "other taxes, fees, and charges which the ISP may change at any time, without notice," before they can find out what the total fees are (and even if they could be told, the ISP apparently could change their "other charges" at any time).

With DocuSign technology, when there are multiple signatories to a document, those earlier on the list of signatures (nominally as part of a group) are not allowed to see the terms, names, etc. applicable to later signatories; they must agree to those terms blindly.

Is there a general principle that applies to binding contracts in which the person signing the contract must do so without seeing its full terms? Under what conditions is this deemed commercially reasonable and/or legally binding?

  • Wouldn't you always have the choice to not agree to terms you can't see or read - and therefore not make use of the service ...? – brhans Apr 24 at 12:56
  • 3
    That "other charges" clause is an explicit legal hack for the fact that secret contract terms are not allowed by definition. Since a contract is formed by accepting the terms of an offer, and secret terms cannot be accepted, a contract cannot be formed in those cases. That the "other charges" clause is accepted in US courts is more a matter of Politics than Law. In the EU you'd be laughed out of court for that. Changing taxes are outside the control of the contract parties, though. – MSalters Apr 24 at 13:13

Is there a general principle that applies to binding contracts in which the person signing the contract must do so without seeing its full terms? Under what conditions is this deemed commercially reasonable and/or legally binding?

The general legal principle is that the contract is void and unenforceable - a party to a contract must have the opportunity of informing themselves of the terms before they enter it.

  • Is it void or voidable? – gnasher729 Apr 25 at 18:45
  • @gnasher729 I would say void since there was never a “meeting of the minds” – Dale M Apr 26 at 20:49

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.