In the above mentioned case, Jez, who residents in England, has subscribed to paid membership with a social networking website which has its office in France. Jez has not read the terms and conditions of the contract, but has clicked on the “Agree to the terms and conditions” before agreeing to the contract (presented as a browse-wrap licence). The terms and conditions are presented in the browse-wrap form and not the click-wrap form. This means that the user would have to invariable read the terms and conditions of the contract.
Unlike, a click-wrap form in which the user may not activate his Java-script, the browse-wrap form need not have the Java-script activated. All the terms and conditions are reasonable and hence would be binding on both the parties. The user would have to maintain responsibility of his username and password. In case the user does not safeguard his username and password, then his account could be terminated and the paid amount would be forfeited by the company. This is clearly mentioned in the account details.
I do feel that these terms and conditions are reasonable, as the organisation is trying to protect misuse of its accounts and is doing to it to protect other users who are using the site. The terms and conditions are presented in the browse-wrap form, in which he has to click to agree. On Line Contracts-Pre Contract Issues and Distance Selling Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 are a set of rules and regulations that protect the consumer from online transactions with merchants. It applies to all online contracts, and has a few exceptions.
Before the consumer enters into a contract with the seller, a few important points should be made known including:- Name and address of the seller Description of the price and details of the goods The duration the offer would remain valid The duration during which the buyer has the right to cancel the order and return the goods The duration the contract would remain valid (Halberstam, 2008, Out Law, 2006). All this information must be made to the buyer and confirmed before the contract is completed. The buyer has the right to question the seller through phone, email or fax.
The after sales guarantee should also exist to help protect the consumer. The terms and conditions should be made known to the buyer either in click-wrap or browse-wrap form. The consumer has the right to cancel the online order and claim full refund during a 7-day duration if he/she is not satisfied with the product. The consumer has the obligation to protect the goods during this 7 day duration. There may be certain issues under which the consumer has no right to cancel the order for the 7 day duration including software, books, periodicals, magazines, videos, perishable goods, etc (Halberstam, 2008, Out Law, 2006).
According to the statutory and regulatory requirements, the user has to protect the username and passwords given to him. He should take sufficient amount of precautions and care in protecting the passwords. In this case, the user has stored his password online and at the same time not protected his computer from use by others. Rob has been using his username and password and has abused other members of the group. Jez may have also created a breach by abusing his office internet policy, by using it for personal purposes. This may be a separate violation, which needs to be addressed by the Employers.
As Jez has not taken sufficient precautions to protect his online account, his account can be cancelled and he cannot claim any refund. Besides, he is also liable to pay for the damages suffered by other members of the internet chat group. The consumers can sue the internet chat organisation for damages under the statutory and regulatory requirements. In turn, the organisation would have to sue Jez for violation and claim compensation. The violation created to the employers depends on the network policy of the employer’s organisation.
If the organisation has a policy of preventing the employees from using the internet for personal purposes, then Jez has violated his organisation’s internet policy and the internet chat company cannot claim vicarious liability from the employers. However, if the organisation permits chatting and use of the office computers for personal purposes, then the organisation would be vicariously liable for the online violations. Jez can say that he has been using the office computer for personal purposes, and the organisation has to protect his computer for use from other people.
If the company permits chatting and personal browsing on the office network, then JEz has full right to store his username and password on the computer. The organisation would have to protect the user from other users by providing him with a separate user account to open the office computer. If the office permits use of the computer for personal browsing and chatting, then Jez can hold the organisation vicariously liable for not adequately protecting his computer by use from others (Out Law, 2006).