William J. Shakespeare recognized over more than 400 years ago in As You Like It that, “Excess may do you harm.” This may still hold true today for sweepstakes and contest Official Rules.
The internet has allowed Official Rules to be as long as a lawyer’s imagination. But don’t shoot yourself in the foot when you try to bulletproof your rules. Boilerplate language, “take it or leave” contracts and heavy-handed, one-sided provisions could be unconscionable and unenforceable. According to the New York Court of Appeals, “unconscionability … requires some showing of ‘an absence of meaningful choice on the part of one of the parties together with contract terms which are unreasonably favorable to the other party.’” State v. Avco Fin. Servs. of N.Y., 50 N.Y.2d 383 (1980). Sounds like Official Rules.
Context is important. (more…)