terms of disservice

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <>

I wanted to buy a jacket from Decathlon, so I went to create an account on their site, which involved wading through as convoluted and boring a "terms of use" statement as I've ever seen. (Alas, I can't link to it because it's just in a textarea on the account creation page.)

Most of the terms were unremarkable (obnoxious and officious, but still unremarkable), until I encountered this gem about halfway down.

«11. The Buyers shall be responsible to up keeping the providing information relating to the products proposed to be sold by Us. In this connection, The Buyers undertake that all such information shall be secured in all respects. The Buyers shall not defame the attributes of such products or services so as to mislead other Buyers in any manner.»

I created an account anyway (and the jacket is rather nice), but I didn't want to be responsible for “up keeping” information relating to the products they sell. So I wrote to their customer support to ask what this ridiculous verbiage was supposed to mean. Much to my surprise, they not only responded to my mail, but actually asked their lawyers for a clarification.

I had a word with our legal department and they mentioned that the clause means if a customer has an issue with or an opinion about a product, they contact us first for us to help them with their issue and not post it on social networking sites or the media.

Not being a fan of idiotic and underhand (and poorly-written, to boot) attempts to restrict what one's customers can and cannot say, I tried to delete my account. The terms of service said I could delete my account at any time, but I could find no way to do so on the web site. So I asked Decathlon to delete my account.

First they said they had deleted my account. I could still login, so I wrote back to ask them to delete it again. Then they said that I had registered two accounts (which I had not; I had just changed my name to "ABC" in my profile), and asked me to send them a list of addresses I had used (which I did—one address). Then they stopped answering my mail.

Eight weeks later, I can still login to my account.

Technically, I don't think this post violates their terms of service, because I did contact them for help first. But they do have a stern profanity policy, so here's a little something to help the account suspension process along: What the fuck, Decathlon? You're a bunch of incompetent nincompoops!

Update (2016-12-13): The account still works, but the “you may delete your account at any time” clause has been removed from the terms of use at some point. Of course, the vital “responsible to up keeping the providing information” clause is still there.