We added a 50% discount code in our T&C’s to see what would happen

The Story

In April 2015 GeoDirectory became 1 year old, at that time we celebrated by running a discount over our birthday weekend. It had been a year since we wrote our terms and conditions (T&C’s) and in June of that year (2015) we decided to review them to see if anything needed updating, it was a boring read and everything seemed good with no changes required but it got me thinking:

“Who actually reads these?”

It was then we decided we would find out and we covertly placed a 50% discount code in our T&C’s wording, we initially placed a 48 hour time limit on the code in case it “got out of control”… 48 hours came and went and nothing, so we removed the time limit and kept an eye on it. Every month i would check it and it had not been used, eventually 8 Months!!! later someone actually used the 50% code, i remember thinking to myself:

“You deserve every penny of that discount”

We wondered if the user would start broadcasting his find and we considered removing it, but curiosity got the better of us and we decided to leave it and see what would happen, after all it was 8 months before anyone presumably read the entirety of our T&C’s, who would be next…
Another 9 months went by before it was used again (Nov 2016), the first user was from California and the second user was from Ontario so i didn’t suspect it had been passed on, it seemed “John” the first customer had kept our little secret to himself.

Does any one read T&C’s or do we all just lie? I remember years ago when i was at university one of my class mates ran a popular forum with over 15k users, in his T&C’s he specified that by registering on the forum he was entitled to your first born child… I presume no children were ever handed over but also no one ever complained…

The third user to use our code was at the start of this month (from Bucharest), so that works out at 3 users in over 20 months who found and used our hidden 50% discount code.


I guess all that can be concluded from this is either thousands of customers didn’t want a discount or they all lied and said they had read the T&C’s.

We decided we will keep the code there for 48 hours from when this blog post is published, maybe it will tell us how many people read our blog. Happy reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

Published by Stiofan O'Connor

Stiofan O'Connor is the co-founder and CEO of AyeCode LTD. With his business partner Paolo, they are the makers of the GeoDirectory, UsersWP and Invoicing plugins for WordPress. He is a Full Stack developer specialized in WordPress development. Stiofan started building websites as a hobby in the early 2000s with PHP at first. He then moved to the CodeIgniter Web Framework for a while before discovering WordPress and ever since he never looked back. Today his WordPress themes and plugins are used with success by +100.000 active websites.

7 thoughts on “We added a 50% discount code in our T&C’s to see what would happen

  1. Oh boy, the 50% discount code has been removed. I wanted to try the pro version so I actually read the T&C’s to see if it was still there ๐Ÿ™ Great plugin.

  2. Haha that’s a good one! So tell us the numbers after this blog post…
    btw. compliments on the Supreme Directory, really love it!

  3. Hi,
    Iโ€™m not a lawyer butโ€ฆ itโ€™s a slippery road.
    You also proved in this test that your customers have not read the T&C’s and therefor these are not applicable. You should have reacted and not approved the customers subscription. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. I always read this blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for T&C’s, as a lawyer you tend to follow a boilerplate that you know covers all the liability angles but granted it does not make for easy reading.

  5. Any ideas how to change this.

    Form me: In best cases I scann T&Cs and even when I read them, I wouldn’t feel that I am
    1) in control
    2) will really get what is written there

    Companies often make T&C unreadable on purpose:
    Uppercase everywhere, small typo, difficult language (non-native speaker here).

    There is/has been a service that makes summaries of T&Cs at least for big companies. Pointing out where they are problematic.
    … but even this: I imagine no sane person should agree Facebook T&C – quite similar with all the messengers, and the Google products. But what other options are there if you want and/or need to use the services?

    Would be awesome to have legally binding summaries in T&Cs.
    So short, easy language, directly to the pain points. But this should be required to be sane summaries instead of cover the hard stuff away.

    Like on Facebook:
    – we could use all your posted material for whatever we want to do with it. Also sell it to advertisers.
    – we store tons of data about you – shipped over by you or generated of you usage behaviour.

    Thanks for sharing that insight.

  6. Now, the question is, will this discount apply on licence renewal or is it futile to hope for that? Cough!

    1. Correct, you can’t apply a coupon code on a ongoing subscription.


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