British games retailer GameStation has revealed that thanks to a clause in its terms and conditions, it now legally owns the immortal souls of thousands of online shoppers.
As part of an April fool joke, the firm added an "immortal soul clause" to the contract internet customers sign before making purchases.
The terms and conditions of this state that: "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."
The GameStation form continues: "We reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction."
The company then offered customers a chance to nullify their soul transfer by clicking on the 'opt out' button at the end of the document.
However, only 12% of the 8.500 customers that visited GameStation that day were reported to have clicked on the button, potentially leaving 7,500 online shoppers facing the very real prospect of eternal damnation.
For those customers sharp enough to have read the T&Cs and opted out of the soul transfer, their reward – in addition to entrance to the kingdom of heaven - was a £5 coupon to use on the website.
GameStation has said that the prank should be a reminder of the importance of reading the terms and conditions on contracts – and has reassured customers that it will not enforce ownership rights of its customers’ souls.
Neil Davey is the managing editor of MyCustomer. An experienced business journalist and editor, Neil has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 20 years, including Internet Works, CXO magazine and Business Management. He joined MyCustomer in 2007.