Terms of service (also known as terms of use and terms and conditions, commonly abbreviated as TOS or ToSToU or T&C) are the legal agreements between a service provider and a person who wants to use that service. The person must agree to abide by the terms of service in order to use the offered service.[1] Terms of service can also be merely a disclaimer, especially regarding the use of websites. Vague language and lengthy sentences used in the terms of use have brought concerns on customer privacy and raised public awareness in many ways.

A terms of service agreement typically contains sections pertaining to one or more of the following topic

  • Disambiguation/definition of key words and phrases
  • User rights and responsibilities
    • Proper or expected usage; definition of misuse
    • Accountability for online actions, behavior, and conduct
    • Privacy policy outlining the use of personal data
    • Payment details such as membership or subscription fees, etc.
    • Opt-out policy describing procedure for account termination, if available
    • Sometimes contains a Arbitration clause detailing the dispute resolution process and limited rights to take a claim to court
  • Disclaimer/Limitation of Liability clarifying the site's legal liability for damages incurred by users
  • User notification upon modification of terms, if offered

The researchers note that rules on location and time limits may be unenforceable for consumers in many jurisdictions with consumer protections, that acceptable use policies are rarely enforced, that quick deletion is dangerous if a court later rules the termination wrongful, that local laws often require warranties (and UK forced Apple to say so).

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