The services with the longest terms and conditions

Phillip Portman

Oct 28, 2021

Whether you’re buying or selling goods online, binging your favourite TV shows, ordering a takeaway meal from a food delivery app or simply surfing the web, chances are you’ve come across a set of terms and conditions in your time.

Terms and conditions can be described as the agreement which outlines the contract between businesses and internet users. These are designed to protect all parties involved in the operation of the service. Essentially, internet users must accept and comply with the terms and conditions to use these services.

While most of us are guilty of skimming through these terms and conditions to access a website or online service quicker, it’s essential to fully understand what you’re agreeing to – especially because these can vary significantly between websites.

But which types of websites and services in Australia have longer terms and conditions and how long would it take you to read them?
To find out, we looked at popular websites across:

  • social media
  • video streaming services
  • search engines
  • online marketplaces
  • online food delivery services
  • music streaming services
  • dating websites and apps
  • job search websites
  • online banking
  • insurance websites (catering to car, health and home insurance)

The surprisingly detailed terms and conditions you didn’t expect

A closer look at each category

 

Social Media

Of the social media websites we analysed, TikTok had the longest terms and conditions with 7,342 words and a reading time of 56.5 minutes. That’s enough time to watch around 224 15-second clips on the popular video-sharing app, 56 one-minute TikToks or around 18 three-minute videos.

In contrast, photo-sharing app Instagram had the shortest social media terms and conditions at 2,997 words and a reading time of 23.1 minutes.

WebsiteT&C word countT&C reading time*
TikTok7,34256.5 minutes
Reddit7,24055.7 minutes
Tumblr6,58850.7 minutes
Twitter5,66043.5 minutes
WhatsApp5,29240.7 minutes
Snapchat4,50834.7 minutes
Linkedin4,34033.4 minutes
Facebook4,22132.5 minutes
YouTube3,72328.6 minutes
Pinterest3,04423.4 minutes
Instagram2,99723.1 minutes

Average social media terms and conditions reading time: 38.4 minutes
Average social media terms and conditions word count: 4,993

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Video streaming

Disney Plus, which launched in Australia in 2019, had the longest terms of use of the video streaming services we analysed. At 6,813 words and a reading time of 52.4 minutes, it’s roughly the same amount of time it would take you to stream an episode of Loki, The Mandalorian or The Falcon and the Winter Solider. If sitcoms on another streaming service are more your thing, that’s about two and a half episodes of Friends, The Big Bang Theory or Superstore.

In contrast, Amazon’s Prime Video had the shortest terms and conditions on our list for social media, at 1,749 words or a reading time of 13.5 minutes.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
Disney Plus6,81352.4 minutes
Stan5,78344.5 minutes
Paramount Plus4,97938.3 minutes
Hayu4,81337 minutes
Binge4,38933.8 minutes
Kayo4,38933.8 minutes
Apple TV Plus3,41526.3 minutes
Netflix2,50119.2 minutes
Prime Video1,74913.5 minutes

Average streaming service terms and conditions reading time: 33.2 minutes
Average social media terms and conditions word count: 4,315

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Search Engines

Whether you’re looking for images, research, a food review or surfing the web for fun, many start their journey with a search engine. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s Microsoft’s Bing that has the longest conditions on our search engine list, sitting at 14,417 words. With a reading time of 110.9 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes), it’s roughly the same amount of time it would take you to watch films such as Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Back to the Future.

Meanwhile, Google’s terms of service page is 3,477 words long and takes 26.7 minutes to read.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
Microsoft (Bing)14,417110.9 minutes
Yahoo11,40787.7 minutes
Google3,47726.7 minutes

Average search engine terms and conditions reading time: 75.1 minutes (1 hour, 15 minutes)
Average search engine terms and conditions word count: 9,767 words

 

Online marketplaces

Online marketplaces, which allow people and businesses to buy and sell goods, have become increasingly popular in recent times. eBay, one of the original online marketplaces, had the lengthiest user agreements of those we analysed. At 7,443 words and a reading time of 57.3 minutes, eBay’s user agreement is more than double the length of Facebook Marketplace’s seller agreement page. That has 3,276 words and a reading time of 25.2 minutes.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
eBay7,44357.3 minutes
Amazon5,77844.4 minutes
Redbubble5,62943.3 minutes
Catch.com.au5,59143 minutes
Etsy4,90437.7 minutes
Gumtree4,24432.6 minutes
Facebook Marketplace3,27625.2 minutes

Average online marketplace terms and conditions reading time: 40.5 minutes
Average online marketplace terms and conditions word count: 5,266 words

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Food delivery

Food delivery services have transformed the food industry in Australia and mean households can now order their favourite dishes at the click of a button. Based on the services we analysed, Deliveroo’s terms and conditions were the longest at 14,153 words and a reading time of 108.9 minutes. That’s longer than it would take to prepare a roast chicken dinner or enough time to hard boil around 12 eggs (if you boiled them one at a time).

At the other end of the scale, Doordash’s terms and conditions sit at 7,687 words and a reading time of 59.1 minutes.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
Deliveroo14,153108.9 minutes (1 hour, 48 minutes)
Uber Eats12,64297.2 minutes (1 hour, 37 minutes)
Menulog8,78167.5 minutes (1 hour, 7 minutes)
Doordash7,68759.1 minutes

Average food delivery terms and conditions reading time: 83.2 minutes (1 hour, 23 minutes)
Average food delivery terms and conditions word count: 10,816 words

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Music streaming

When it comes to the music streaming services we analysed, it would take Australians the longest to read Spotify’s user agreement. At 8,537 words and a reading time of 65.7 minutes (1 hour, 5 minutes), it’s enough time to stream Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody or Michael Jackson’s Thriller around 11 times.

Amazon Music’s terms of use document is considerably lower at 2,990 and has a reading time of 23 minutes. In that time, you could listen to Bohemian Rhapsody or Thriller twice.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
Spotify8,53765.7 minutes (1 hour, 5 minutes)
Apple Music8,36764.4 minutes (1 hour, 4 minutes)
Tidal7,24055.7 minutes
Pandora5,27640.6 minutes
YouTube Music3,72328.6 minutes
Amazon Music2,99023 minutes

Average music streaming terms and conditions reading time: 46.3 minutes
Average music streaming terms and conditions word count: 6,022 words

 

Dating services

Of the dating services we analysed, Grindr’s terms of service page was well ahead of the competition at 14,672 and a reading time of 112.9 minutes (1 hour, 52 minutes). That’s roughly enough time to take a date to the movies, catch a play at the theatre or go out for a romantic dinner.

RSVP had the shortest terms and conditions on our list at just 3,679 and a reading time of 28.3 minutes. That should be enough time to stream one show on Netflix on a cosy date night in.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
Grindr14,672112.9 minutes
EHarmony9,33071.8 minutes
Bumble8,43464.9 minutes
Match8,40064.6 minutes
Tinder5,64743.4 minutes
RSVP3,67928.3 minutes

Average dating service terms and conditions reading time: 64.3 minutes (1 hour, 4 minutes)
Average dating service terms and conditions word count: 8,360 words

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Job search

Our analysis found that the length of terms can vary quite significantly when it comes to job search websites. For example, CareerOne, which topped the list of websites we analysed, had a word count of 7,349 and a reading time of 56.5 minutes. At the other end of the scale, it would take just 9.7 minutes to read the 1,264 words in Seek’s terms.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
CareerOne7,34956.5 minutes
Glassdoor7,21755.5 minutes
JobSearch2,17416.7 minutes
Seek1,2649.7 minutes

Average job search website terms and conditions reading time: 34.6 minutes
Average job search terms and conditions word count: 4,501 words

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Online banking

Given the regulations on the industry, we knew banking terms and conditions would be an interesting analysis. Looking at the terms and conditions for online banking services with Australia’s Big Four Banks, we were even more surprised that the reading time came in at over an hour for all the banks. NAB topped the list with a whopping 37,707 words and a reading time of 290.1 minutes (4 hours, 50 minutes). To put that in perspective, you could watch the entire Titanic movie and still have 96 minutes left to watch another film such as Shrek, Babe, Zombieland or Airplane.

ANZ’s internet banking terms and conditions page was the shortest on our list, but still had an impressive 9,337 words and a reading time of 71.8 minutes (1 hour, 11 minutes).

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
NAB37,707290.1 minutes (4 hours, 50 minutes)
Westpac26,584204.5 minutes (3 hours, 24 minutes)
CommBank19,626151 minutes (2 hours, 31 minutes)
ANZ9,33771.8 minutes (1 hour, 11 minutes)

Average online banking terms and conditions reading time: 179.35 minutes (2 hours, 59 minutes)
Average online banking terms and conditions word count:  23,313

 

Car insurance

Out of all the brands we analysed in this industry, AAMI topped the list. Their terms and conditions word count were positioned at 14,260 which took 109.7 minutes to read (1 hour, 49 minutes). In that time, you could fill your car’s petrol tank around 27 times. Meanwhile, Budget Direct’s terms of use page is 2,244 words in length and takes 17.3 minutes to read.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
AAMI14,260109.7 minutes (1 hour, 49 minutes)
Youi3,85029.6 minutes
NRMA2,29517.7 minutes
Budget Direct2,25417.3 minutes
Woolworths Insurance2,24417.3 minutes

Average auto insurance website terms and conditions reading time: 38.3 minutes
Average auto insurance website terms and conditions word count: 4,981 words

Due to the large scope of car insurers in Australia, we used Google Trends data between 02/09/2020 and 02/09/2021 to find the top searched brands that sell car insurance. All these brands also sell other types of insurance.

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Health insurance

In the 42.8 minutes it’d take you to read the 5,567 words as part of AHM’s terms and conditions, you’d have enough time to complete the recommended half an hour of daily moderate physical activity and still have 12 minutes left over to rest.1

HCF’s terms and conditions were at the other end of the scale at 1,218 words and a 9.4-minute reading time.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
AHM5,56742.8 minutes
Bupa2,61420.1 minutes
NIB2,41318.6 minutes
Medibank1,47911.4 minutes
HCF1,2189.4 minutes

Average health insurance website terms and conditions reading time: 20.4 minutes
Average health insurance website terms and conditions word count: 2,658 words

Due to the large scope of health insurers in Australia, we used Google Trends data between 02/09/2020 and 02/09/2021 to find the top searched brands that sell health insurance. All these brands also sell other types of insurance.

1. Better Health Victoria – ‘Physical activity – it’s important’ – Accessed 08/09/2021

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Home insurance

AAMI’s terms and conditions once again proved the lengthiest of the home insurance websites we analysed, sitting at 14,260 words and taking 109.7 minutes (1 hour, 49 minutes) to read. This is around four times longer than RACQ’s terms of use document, which is 2,906 words long and takes 22.4 minutes to read.

WebsiteT&C word countAverage T&C reading time*
AAMI14,260109.7 minutes
Suncorp13,101100.8 minutes
RACV5,13339.5 minutes
RACQ2,90622.4 minutes
NRMA2,29517.7 minutes

Average home insurance website terms and conditions reading time: 58 minutes
Average home insurance website terms and conditions word count: 6,512 words

Due to the large scope of home insurers in Australia, we used Google Trends data between 02/09/2020 and 02/09/2021 to find the top searched brands that sell home insurance. All these brands also sell other types of insurance.

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Methodology

The word count was calculated based on the number of words that appeared on a website’s terms and conditions, user agreement, terms of use or terms of service page or document. For fairness, we only included words that appeared on each of these pages and haven’t included word counts on any other page or document these agreements link to. While care has been given to make these word counts as accurate as possible, actual word counts may vary slightly. The terms and conditions were accurate as of 7/9/2021.

*Reading times were calculated based on an average reading speed of 130 words per minute.

These lists may not be reflective of all websites within a category. Average reading times and word counts are reflective only of the websites we analysed.

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