Court Decision Highlights Importance of Post-Purchase Terms and Conditions


In its recent decision in DeFontes v. Dell, Inc., No. 2004-137, 2009 R.I. LEXIS 142 (R.I. Dec. 14, 2009), the Supreme Court of Rhode Island held that an arbitration clause, contained in terms and conditions provided to customers following purchase, was unenforceable because the customers were not given the opportunity to reject the terms and conditions by returning the purchased goods. This case serves as an important alert to companies that seek to impose terms and conditions on their customers through any form of post-purchase documentation, such as “shrinkwrap” agreements, order confirmations, invoices, or product packaging.

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