Gamestation, a UK computer and video games retailer, is the proud owner of the immortal souls of 7,500 people. At least that's according to the fine print that the previous owners of those souls agreed to by accepting Gamestation's online shopping Terms and Conditions.
It was just an April Fools gag, but it underscored the fact that few of us bother to read what we're accepting when we make an online purchase. At this writing, Gamestation's Terms and Conditions page still includes the following paragraph:
By placing an order via this web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions. We reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction.
According to news: lite, Gamestation found that the number of people who read the fine print is barely over 1 in 10:
While all shoppers during the test were given a simple tick box option to opt out, very few did this, which would have also rewarded them with a 5 voucher. The store claims this shows 88 percent of people do not read the terms and conditions of a website before they make a purchase. Bosses also say they will not be enforcing their rights and will now email customers nullifying any claim on their soul.
The lesson here is that these Terms and Conditions pages are worth, at the very least, a brief scan to ensure you're not agreeing to anything you might later regret. Kudos to Gamestation for driving that point home.