a website is insisting that because I checked a box agreeing to the terms of service I am liable for a 50.00 extra fee for a charge back when my item was not delivered according to the terms and if I give any negative feedback on any other website about them that I will be charged an additional 3500.00. Is a checkbox equal to a written contract?
Generally, yes, the checkbox is equal to a signature on a written contract.
However, there are exceptions:
1. Iif the terms were not "conspicuously posted" they will not be enforced; and
2. If the contracts terms are so so imbalanced in favor of one party over the other that there is a strong implication it was not freely bargained. This is known as a contract of adhesion.
Contact a lawyer who can probably write a letter to make this go away.
Andrew M. Jaffe
Attorney at Law
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Very complicated answer but generally speaking it depends what the check box says.
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I agree with Mr. Jaffe's response, but from a practical point of view I think this falls within the category of small injustices that you have to accept in life. The cost of hiring a lawyer when your only damages are $50 plus not being able to post negative feedback sounds like a bad return on investment. I suspect you won't do business with that website again.