A computer seller's terms and conditions included with a mail order purchase were not enforceable where the consumer purchaser's right to reject the contract by returning the goods was not clearly explained, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island ruled. The court noted that although the terms and conditions document containing the arbitration clause included an “express disclaimer” informing the purchaser of the right to return the goods, the disclaimer was located in a separate provision removed from the introductory contractual language in the agreement, and the language of the disclaimer was confusing. Further, the court found the construction of the terms and conditions required the consumer to construe contractual language in order to infer the right to return the goods. Thus, the court concluded, it was not “reasonably apparent” to purchasers that they had a right to reject the contract provisions by returning the goods.

Defontes v. Dell, 2009 R.I. LEXIS 142 (R.I. Dec. 14, 2009) Download PDF

Editor’s Note This ruling is more fully discussed on the Proskauer New Media and Technology Law blog.