Examples of "Click to Accept"

Examples of "Click to Accept"

When it comes to getting users to agree to the Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and the other important legal agreements that are a part of your website or mobile app, there are two common methods of acquiring this acceptance.

These two methods are known as clickwrap and browsewrap.

Browsewrap is a passive method of having users accept your legal agreements and be bound by them.

A typical browsewrap agreement includes phrases that state that by using, accessing, or creating an account, or browsing a website, the user will be considered to have accepted the agreement of the website.

Below is an example of a very typical browsewrap agreement presented by The Sunday Business Post in their Terms of Use agreement.

Browsewrap Terms of Use agreement from Sunday Business Post

Note how the last sentence states how "your Use of our Site constitutes acceptance of these Terms of Use and your agreement to be bound by them."

All a user must do to be deemed as accepting of this Terms of Use is use the site of The Sunday Business Post.

Browsewrap methods are typically held to be unenforceable in courts because they aren't conspicuous enough.

Users can't be held to have accepted terms by simply browsing a web page or taking some other basic and generic action that in no way shows they accept terms or are even aware that terms exist.

This is especially true since the passing of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU in 2018. Under the GDPR, any time you obtain consent it must be obtained in a way that's clear and affirmative - such as with a checked box. The GDPR basically does away with browsewrap, making it not up to modern standards of consent.

Conversely, the clickwrap method is an active method of getting users to accept your legal agreements. Clickwrap requires that a user clicks something - a checkbox, a linked button, etc. - that shows that the user intends to accept or agree to your agreement.

For example, here's a standard clickwrap presentation where Engine Yard obtains agreement to its Terms of Service before a user can sign up to create an account.

A user must click the box next to "I agree to the terms of service" and that "Terms of Service" is linked in the text for easy access and quick reference so a user can easily view what she/he is agreeing to:

Engine Yard sign-up form with clickwrap checkbox for I Agree to Terms of Service

Clickwrap is preferred over browsewrap because clickwrap generally leaves little to no doubt that a user intended to be bound to your legal agreements.

Having undoubted, provable consent is important in the event that a legal issue or conflict arises between your business and a user.

Take, for example, the court case of Sgouros v. TransUnion Corp. that involved a click-to-accept button, a Service Agreement with an arbitration clause in it, and an unhappy customer.

Screenshot from Sgouros v. TransUnion from United States Court of Appeals

The customer in this case was dissatisfied with the TransUnion credit reporting due to the report being inaccurate and he filed a class action lawsuit against the company.

TransUnion had included an arbitration clause in its Service Agreement and sought to compel arbitration. The plaintiff then claimed that he was not bound to the terms in the agreement because the terms were not adequately disclosed.

Here's what the page looked like where the plaintiff was presented with TransUnion's Service Agreement, text that defined what clicking the "I Accept & Continue to Step 3" button would do, and the "I Accept" button. (Image taken from here.)

Screenshot from TransUnion: I accept & Continue to Step 3

TransUnion claimed that this clickwrap was adequate enough to find that the plaintiff should be bound by the terms of the Service Agreement.

To determine whether this was an acceptable method of clickwrap, the court used a two-part test.

Enter the "reasonable communicativeness" test.

This test considered the following two issues:

  1. Whether all of the terms and conditions of the agreement in question were adequately communicated to the consumer via the web pages, and
  2. Whether an assumption could be supported by the circumstances that the consumer had reasonable notice of the terms in question.

The court found that the TransUnion disclosure was insufficient for a number of different reasons.

First, there's nothing on the page that states that a consumer is going to be subject to any terms and conditions or that any terms and conditions even exist.

The scroll box space where the Service Agreement is located is very small and shows very limited text, none of which puts a consumer on notice that he will be bound by any terms in the Service Agreement or that the text in the box is even important.

Next, the small text located between the scroll box and the "I Accept" button states:

By clicking on the "I Accept..." button below, you are providing "written instructions" to TransUnion Interactive, Inc. authorizing TransUnion Interactive, Inc. to obtain information from your personal credit profile from Experian, Equifax, and/or TransUnion. You authorize TransUnion Interactive, Inc. to obtain such information solely to confirm your identity and display your credit data to you.

There's no mention that by clicking the "I Accept" button you are accepting the terms of the Service Agreement. In fact, quite the opposite because a user would rightfully assume that by clicking the button, they are doing exactly what TransUnion stated, which does not involve agreeing to any terms.

Other issues that the court pointed out that worked against finding the disclosure to be sufficient includes the following:

  • The consumer wasn't required to click on or scroll through the scroll box.
  • The hyperlinked version of the Service Agreement located near the box was labeled only with "Printable Version." This downplayed its importance.

The court held that the scrollable box on its own is insufficient to create an agreement, and based on the above factors, the only real reference to any of the agreement terms was within the scroll box and nowhere else.

These issues could have been solved by adding noticeable and clear text:

  • Either near the Service Agreement scroll box, within the visible portion of the box
  • Or in the paragraph above the "I Accept" button that gave a consumer notice that the purchase would be subject to the terms and conditions of the service agreement.

As a result of this case, clickwrap agreements should strive to meet the two-part "reasonable communicativeness" test by adequately communicating terms to consumers.

Don't just hide the terms in a small scroll box or in a way that downplays their importance or relevance to the consumer. If a consumer will be bound by terms, he should be informed of that as blatantly as possible and in a clear and reasonable way.

Examples of clickwrap methods

Here are a few examples of adequate clickwrap methods that use "Click to Accept" or "I Agree" buttons to successfully let users know about terms and obtain agreement to these terms.

Amazon AWS uses a checkbox that users must click before creating an account. This checkbox is next to a sentence that says, "Check here to indicate that you have read and agree to the terms of the AWS Customer Agreement."

This box must be checked before an account can be created.

The Customer Agreement of AWS is linked for convenience for the user and to show that the agreement is important. The language used makes sure a user knows that by checking that box and then clicking Create Account and Continue, an agreement will be formed.

Amazon AWS I Agree To Customer Agreement Checkbox Checked

Before registering to use Mondaq, new users must check a box to state that the Mondaq Terms and Conditions have been read, and then also click "Register."

This process leaves no doubt that anyone who both checks the box and clicks Register is intending to agree to the Terms and Conditions of Mondaq.

Mondaq Agree to Terms and Conditions Checkbox

PayPal makes it very clear that there's an agreement between registering users and PayPal, the company.

Users must click a checkbox that states, "By clicking Agree and Continue, I hereby agree and consent to the User Agreement, its policies, and the Privacy Policy."

The word "Agree" is also included in the button that the user must click on to create the account.

PayPal: Agree and Continue to create Business Account

While these examples of clickwrap use checkboxes to gain agreement from a user, this isn't necessary.

Simple "click to accept" methods are equally effective and binding if done correctly.

Here are a few examples of "click to accept" clickwrap methods that don't require a separate checkbox click, but still do a successful job of letting users know that by clicking, they're agreeing to terms.

Microsoft lets users who create new accounts know that "clicking Create account means that you agree to the Microsoft Services Agreement and privacy and cookies statement."

There is no checkbox required.

This clear language and hyperlinked policies made readily available let users know that there are important agreements to read, provides these agreements, and makes it clear that by clicking "Create Account," an agreement will be formed between the user and Microsoft, the company.

Microsoft version of clickwrap: Create account and agree to Services, Privacy and Cookies Statement

New users who are signing up for a Yelp account are informed that "By signing up, you agree to Yelp's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy."

This is stated immediately above the "Sign Up" button, and links to the relevant Terms and Privacy Policy of Yelp are included, which puts new users on notice that an agreement will be formed upon sign-up.

Yelp version of clickwrap: Sign-up for account and agree to Terms of Service, Privacy Policy

When you sign up for an account on the Grand Rounds website, you have to check a box that says you agree to the Terms of Service, which are linked. You can then create an account.

While the checkbox isn't necessary, as seen in examples above, this extra required action by your users is favored by courts and is a best practice of clickwrap methods.

Grand Rounds version of clickwrap: Sign-up to create account, agree to Terms of Service

The CodeFights website has small text on its sign-up page that states, "By signing up you agree to our Privacy Policy and EULA."

These agreements are linked, and the statement is located between the user information fields and the "Sign Up" button where a user should notice it before completing the sign-up process.

CodeFights version of clickwrap: Agree to Privacy Policy, EULA for accoun

Goldstar places text below but very close to the "Sign Up" button that lets users know that "by clicking Sign up, you agree to our Terms of Service and that you have read our Privacy Policy."

Both agreements are linked and done so in a brightly-colored font to draw attention to them.

GoldStar version of clickwrap: By sign-up, you agree to Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

MyLife allows users to create free accounts and lets them know that "by clicking on the "Join for free" button, you agree to our User Agreement and our Privacy Policy."

The User Agreement and the Privacy Policy are both linked, in brighter-colored font than the surrounding text, and they're located next to the "Join for Free" button.

MyLife version of clickwrap: Join for Free and agree to User Agreement and Privacy Policy

When creating a clickwrap method of obtaining agreement to your terms, remember to make sure that you communicate these terms adequately to your users. Make sure that users have notice that the terms exist and that by taking some action they will be held to be in agreement with the terms.

Sara P.

Sara P.

Law school graduate, B.A. in English/Writing. In-house writer.

This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.