Earlier this year we wrote about the Safeway class action lawsuit, and how it is a perfect example of why updating / modifying your website terms and conditions should be done in a methodical way. To recap:
Safeway is best positioned to make sure customers are aware of changes that Safeway has made to its contract with Class Members. After making a change, Safeway can take any number of actions to alert users that the Special Terms they agreed to at registration have been altered. For instance, Safeway could ask customers to click to indicate that they agree to the new Special Terms or send all existing safeway.com customers an email in order to ensure that every consumer is aware of a change in the Special Terms prior to making a purchase. When Safeway changed the Special Terms on November 15, 2011, it opted to do neither.
The result: Safeway must pay out $30,900,000 in damages.
[UPDATE - The damages actually amount to $42,000,000!
As we stated before, this case makes it blatantly obvious that simply changing website legal terms, then crossing your fingers that the changes hold up, doesn’t work. Its critical to least put visitors on notice regarding the changes, although the better practice would be to present those changes for acceptance via some clickable transaction.