UK biz offered free wine in small print, only claimed months later

There was fine wine in the fine print!

A United Kingdom company posted an offer to claim a free bottle of “good wine” in its online privacy agreement and nobody spotted it for months  — proving pretty much nobody reads the tedious text.

Dan Neidle, of the think tank Tax Policy Associates, said he conducted the “experiment” to have a little fun while objecting to a rule that forces all businesses to post the largely-ignored legal agreement.

“[It was] my childish protest that all businesses have to have a privacy policy and no one reads it,” Neidle, a lawyer who heads the non-profit, told BBC News Thursday.

“Every tiny coffee shop has to have a privacy policy on their website, it’s crazy. It’s money that’s being wasted,” he said.

Tax lawyer Dan Neidle came up with the wine experiment. Dan Neidle/X

In February, he tucked the vino offer into the website’s snoozy legalese, between a warning about browser cookies and advertising.

“This website uses cookies so we can remember your name if you leave a comment. You can reject them if you like. We will send a bottle of wine to the first person to read this. We don’t serve any advertising,” the agreement reads.

Nobody claimed the free wine until May — and even then the person “kind of cheated” because they were just trying to write their own fine print and using it as an example, he said.

The think tank sent the eagle-eyed recipient a bottle of 2013 Château de Sales, which costs about $40 and is described as a “Merlot-dominant blend”  with “bright notes of redcurrant and raspberry.”

A company posted an offer to claim free wine in its online privacy agreement — and nobody spotted it for months. Dan Neidle/X
The company sent the lucky recipient a bottle of 2013 Château de Sales. Château de Sales

Neidle first tweeted about the experiment Thursday saying the bottle “just got claimed.”

He said the non-profit first made a similar hidden offer when it launched about two years ago and it took four months for someone to spot it.

“We did it again to see if people were paying more attention,” he said. “They’re not.”

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