Have You Accidentally Sold Your Soul Lately?

GameStation, a British computer game retailer, added an “immortal soul” clause to the contract signed by online shoppers on April 1, 2010. Thousands of customers agreed to the following stipulation: “By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions.” Yes, it was an April Fool’s Day joke; GameStation will not be enforcing its ownership rights. (HT: Marginal Revolution)[%comments]

Could they please return it to me.

The devil was in the details.

richard schumacher

Well, no, it's not legally binding because they specified the era in the wrong order. The year is actually "Anno Domini [the year of the lord] 2010". ...but then maybe Satan *would* write it backwards? Hmm...

Melvin D Melmac, Poughkeepsie, NY

My teenage son would have no problem with this.

Eric M. Jones

Yes...and Satan has all the lawyers so be careful when you click that online "I accept the agreement" box.


That sounds a lot like the contract that Scientologist employees have to sign.

hilzoy fangirl

I hope no one was bleeding from their finger when they clicked the "accept" button!

David Blackburn

Thankfully, I can't sell what I've already indentured to another Master.

Jason Roth

It's good to know they can laugh about the uselessness of their usual contract.

It sounds like a great opportunity for anyone who made a purchase to "violate" all the other conditions in the contract. Let a judge figure out which conditions were April Fool's Day jokes and which weren't.

Gonzalo J. Suarez

So, when they said "Game Over", their clients will be really, really dead? No life recovery points or something similar? Scary!!!


too late.... i had already lost it with call of duty....

Marty Weybret

Proof that no one reads online contracts. Consumers need to stop pretending that signing something online means nothing and demand simpler documents.


Jason Roth: There's bound to be a 'severability' clause which says that if one clause is found to be unenforceable, other clauses are still enforceable. The judge would throw out demands for your soul, but enforce the clause which says you can't sell copies.

When I install software on MS Windows, these lengthy agreements always appear in a tiny text box *which is impossible to expand*. Microsoft is actively making it as hard as possible to actually see what you're agreeing to.

Peter H

For a moment I thought it was Apple and the iPad...


We pretend that there is such a thing as freedom to contract, but in reality the corporate behemoths have all the bargaining power and the consumer ultimately has none.


How is it even possible that these contracts can stick when so many people click them away without any desire to actually contract with the other party. The "I accept" button doesn't represent any meeting of minds or understanding of terms, just a desire to get a dialog box out of their face, and experiments like these *prove* it on a wide-spread scale.

The fact that a court will allow such a one-sided "agreement" to hold is worth at least a small amount of outrage.

Brad Materra

Further proof that Marty Weybret and other con jobs lurk in cyberspace.

Stephen Rice

@richard schumacher

Honestly, it really doesn't matter what order you write the date in as long as it can be understood what the parties meant. There's no secret magic to writing a contract that needs to be perfect or else it's unenforceable. It's really just a case of making sure it does everything that you want it to do in the way you want it to. It's that risk of leaving something out which means you want a lawyer to do it.

People in the UK write the date in a different order than people in the US do (day/month/year vs month/day/year) and yet, even with something as ambiguous as that, as long as you can work out what date they were pointing to it's perfectly fine.