The fine print

I am one of those people who tries my best to read the fine print. When I sign something, I will read the fine print, often to the dismay of the person behind the counter who has to wait for me to read the fine print. I do it for two reasons: (1) it’s sensible; while much of the fine-print is standard leagalese, I like to know to what terms I am agreeing; (2) I often find it interesting what people are willing to agree to, without reading something thoroughly.

But even I have my limits.

Today, I received a “Terms and Conditions Update and Notice of Amendment” statement from Hertz #1 Club Gold, of which I am a member. There was a covering letter which outlined the highlighted changes they deemed important to note, and I read those changes in the matter of minutes. Enclosed, along with the letter, however, was the complete “Program Rental Terms & Conditions” effective January 1, 2006. This “pamphelet”, about the size of an airline ticket, is 52 pages of fine print, almost all of which is written in the stogiest of legalese. For instance:

EXCEPT FOR RENTAL AS TO WHICH CLAUSE (a) OR (b) OF SUBPARAGRAPH (3) BECOMES APPLICABLE, THE PER-GALLON COST OF THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION WILL ALWAYS BE LOWER THAN FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE, BUT IF YOU ELECT THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR FUEL LEFT IN THE TANK AT THE TIME OF RETURN.

Incidentally, for some reason, this legalese almost always appears in ALL CAPS, except for the subparagraphs, which seem to use normal capitizalization, except when referring to You or the Car. I wonder why that is.

In any event, there is no way I would even attempt to read all 52 pages, as fascinating as it might be. While I envision this taking a lot of time, I am more concerned abou the damage such an attempt would do to my brain and sanity.

Who are these guys kidding?