Legal Notes should be a conversation, not a contract

Let’s face it, Legal Notes are boring. That’s why everybody skips them and clicks on “I Accept”, even knowing their importance and that might have something tricky that will be against them in case they try to pursue their rights. The thing is that the way companies have been displaying their Terms and Conditions sounds more like a barrier when users are trying to complete their very first task on a site or app – sign up.

Maybe it’s written for not to be read at all, this way companies stay on the control. But I believe in transparency and ethics, so… what if Legal Notes sounded more like a conversation with the user, instead of a “contract” to be signed, that nobody understands? Something in a plain language, that can be fully understood and is there, with no reasons to hide?

Setting the tone

Tone is everything in a conversation. From saying “Hi” to being a mom or dad who set up the rules at home. Imagine if moms made a legal document with all the rules and asked their children to “Accept” it after reading carefully? That’s what I feel in most of the sites I use, including one of the most famous in the cosmetics segment, Sephora Canada. The tone is incredibly harsh; it sounds like a Trump statement. They are lucky that almost nobody reads it, in fact! LOL

They start with: “Our Terms of Use and other areas of our Sites provide guidelines (“Guidelines”) and rules and regulations (“Rules”)…”

“Sephora reserves the right to change or modify any of the terms and conditions contained in the Terms of Use, Guidelines and Rules from time to time at any time, without notice…”

“If you do not agree with any of these, you should not use our Sites.”

Ouch! U_U

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Source: cdn.someecards.com

In the middle of it, you can still find this pearl regarding Content:

“you may be exposed to Content that may be offensive, indecent or objectionable and Sephora shall not be liable for any such Content and that the risk of harm or damage from the foregoing rests entirely with you.”

I understand Canada is made of different cultures from many different countries, but it is unacceptable that such a respected brand like Sephora states that if you feel offended, it’s your problem, not theirs. A brand should understand their audience and try to be as polite and respectful as possible to everybody. Contradictory, in another piece of the document, they say the users should not use offensive, indecent content. So, just users should be mindful and respectful? What are the examples a brand should show to the society? Anyway…

Meanwhile, at Pretty Please website, the terms and conditions are all there, at the top menu, in a fun, plain and straightforward language. After reading them, you feel much more comfortable to make a purchase, I.e.:

Is there a Minimum order quantity?
No minimum. Order one bottle if you like!”

Are there any words that can’t be used on Pretty Please labels?
We are all for expressing yourself but let’s keep it classy.”

What I already had in mind and shouldn’t forget for my Senior Project

Colour is the most sensitive and challenging topic in my Senior Project, just because the light and brightness of devices screens are different for each user. Besides, the colour on screen is made of light, while the nail polishes colours are made of pigments that reflect light. I was surprised that Pretty Please doesn’t have any statement regarding colour differences. But the fact is that I have no idea on how to address this issue, so the colours are as accurate as possible.

Is there a feature that adjusts the users’ screen brightness when using the app? OMG, this is going to be crazy!

Another thing that I had in mind is the minimum age to use the website and app. I don’t want kids to spend all their parents’ money, so it’s important for parents to understand they are responsible for allowing their children to use the app.

Placing large orders is something that I had in mind. Since it’s all about capacity, for sure that the delivery times are different. I got surprised to see that Sephora just doesn’t accept these kinds of purchase. Pretty Please is very flexible, as long as you communicate with them before. If we think that many users would place larger orders in our app as a way to acquire custom gifts for events, flexibility is everything, right?

Those tricky things I had no idea and I just CAN’T forget at all

Even feeling sick reading Sephora’s Terms and Conditions, I must say I could see a lot of stuff there that I have never imagined the importance before, like the possibility of being suited in case of allergy. However, Sephora is just a retailer, not the manufacturer. They don’t put their brand on the products they sell, like Pretty Please, who apparently work with a third-party manufacturer. But Pretty Please lists all the ingredients on the website, which might help to minimise the possibility of a suit.

Regarding content creation, which includes naming the Nail Polishes, Sephora brought up something very important to my attention: what happens if people use registered marks or Copywrite protected content, like a song title, to name their creations? Is it allowed? What are the boundaries? Am I allowed to sell that, even though the content was created by a user? Can it be published on Social Media by the user, using my app? Pretty Please, in another hand, just states that users should be classy and avoid bad words. However, they don’t offer the possibility of sharing the polish names created on Social Media.

Another thing still related to nail polish naming that came up is that there should be a way in the app to avoid personal information is used, like telephone number, emails and addresses. There’s always someone nonsense out there to screw with a friend’s privacy, even unintentionally.

 Bottom Line

Sephora’s terms of use really pissed me off. They don’t reflect the brand they are at all. Or, they do, and clients are just blind to realised that.

Pretty Please, in another hand, is much closer to what I think is the ideal conversation about rules: direct, clear, plain, fun. However, they missed a lot of important topics that should be put on the table as well as could give some margin to dual understanding. Nothing that an in-depth review wouldn’t catch, I think.

In an era where brand loyalty is fragile, transparency is one of the key value for companies to establish a trusted relationship with their clients. And this starts from the very beginning: setting the rules.

 Sources

Sephora Canada – Terms of Use http://www.sephora.com/terms-of-use

Pretty Please Nails – Pricing + FAQ https://www.prettypleasenailpolish.com/general

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