This Article investigates consumers' beliefs about contracts that are formed as a result of fraud. Across four studies, we asked lay survey respondents to judge scenarios in which sellers use false representations to induce consumers to buy products or services. In each case, the false representations are directly contradicted by the written terms of the contract, which the consumers sign without reading. Our findings reveal that lay respondents, unlike legally trained respondents, believe that such agreements are consented to and will be enforced as written, despite the seller's material deception. Importantly, fine print discourages consumers from wanting to take legal action, initiate complaints, or damage the deceptive firm's reputation by telling others what happened. We find that the presence of deception during the contract formation process has little effect on consumers' beliefs about whether the contract will be or should be enforced as written. While informing consumers about anti deception consumer protection laws can alter their perceptions of fine-print fraud, we find that such information does not completely counteract the psychological effect of the fine print.
Furth-Matzkin and Roseanna Sommers. "Consumer Psychology and the Problem of Fine Print Fraud." Stanford Law Review 72, no. 3 (2020): 503-60.