Acorns - www.acorns.com


Contract Title Acorns
Contract Website www.acorns.com
Contract Application Acorns Mobile App
Contract Type application
Contract Date 06/24/2017
TOS Website acorns.com/terms/
Total Rating 51.11

Total Page Count 121

Terms: 11 pages; Program Agreement: 95 pages; Wrap Agreement: 5 pages; Privacy: 4 pages; Gift Policy: 2 pages; Referral Policy: 5 pages. And I'm sure there are a few more I missed.


The Right to Privacy 3 out of 5

GOOD ASPECTS: Great bulleted list of what information they take from you. The law enforcement disclosure is too lax, but more or less reasonable. Only 4 pages.

BAD ASPECTS: Law enforcement disclosure is too lax. They do not discuss account recovery and cell phone porting in a proper manner.


The Right to Equal, Fair, & Reasonable Expression 2 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: Very unclear. Seems they can kick you off and delete your account at any time for any reason, which is disturbing given that they are handling your money. Surely, federal law prohibits them from absconding with your investment dollars, but it's certainly not clear.

GOOD ASPECTS: In most cases, the only people you are speaking to is customer service. It's unclear if there is a message board community area.


The Right to Control My Intellectual Property 0 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: You give them an EXCLUSIVE license on page 4 of anything you submit. What? That's outrageous. Just for that, they get a zero.

GOOD ASPECTS: Good IP copyright infringement policy for reporting, but unclear how they determine IP infringements. The sublicense is ONLY for use of the service, so can't be randomly shared with unnecessary parties.


The Right to Sue 0 out of 5

Laws of Delaware.

BAD ASPECTS: Cannot sue. The company is not liable for any damages whatsoever. I get that they shouldn't be liable for any financial losses, but this blanket waiver is not good. But if you do decide to sue for some reason, and it does go forward, and you lose, you have to pay all of their legal fees. They are really looking out for all their little acorns (users) now aren't they!

GOOD ASPECTS: None.


The Right to Low-Cost Arbitration 1 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: Arbitration is forced upon you. Venue must be Orange, California office of JAMS. Only compensatory damages allowed, and any and all other forms of damages prohibited. If you lose, you have have to pay for all of the other party's legal fees and arbitration fees. That's unfair for such a huge company.

GOOD ASPECTS: You are allowed to arbitrate.


The Right to Join a Class Action 0 out of 5

Fully waived on p27 of the program agreement, and also listed in the TOS.


The Right to No Hidden Terms or Fees 0 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: All. Entirely too many agreements and entirely too long and convoluted. Advertisements state that the funds are Vanguard funds but nowhere within does it clearly state that they use Vanguard funds. They tell you within that if you don't invest a lot of money, you may lose money based on the fees. The fees in the program agreement (p93) do not match the fees stated earlier in the document on p14. It's not clear if the wrap fee is different from the subscription fee. There are a lot of important emails and phone numbers hidden away on pa 44 and 45 of the program agreement. On p85, you discover that "Rollovers from a Roth to Coverdale, Traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE are not permitted"--this should be clear up front. I'm sure there are more confusing and hidden parts within, but these are the major ones.

GOOD ASPECTS: To their credit, it IS a financial services company, so I understand the longer length, but it's all still too long and NO ONE can be expected to read through all this. Absurd.


The Right to Fair Process & To Be Heard 0 out of 5

Can kick you off for ANY reason at all (p6 of TOS; p21 of Program Agreement), which is messed up, since your money is kept in their trust. They can also halt any transaction for any reason, which doesn't make any sense. And like many of these TOS statements, you can't say "hateful" things, but what the heck does that mean? There's no due process. No warning process. No opportunity to correct. No defense period. No fair and impartial decision-making process.


The Right to Appeal & The Right to Return 0 out of 5

No appeal process. No second-chance/right to return.


The Right to Reasonable Terms 0 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: Term of Service starts with a huge block of all caps that no non-lawyer will clearly be able to understand. Over 121 pages of agreements. Not acceptable. There seem to be contradictory terms because it also states that they ARE liable for gross negligence, willful misconduct, or violations of applicable law, which seems to contradict other areas of the agreement. The terms of the program agreement are in direct conflict with the terms of service. They are not responsible in any way if you are hacked. "The company makes no warranties". What? You're a financial services company. No warranties? At all? There is no severability of clauses--instead the clause will be rewritten to match the intent, but whose intent? It's a contract of adhesion, so only Acorns' intent will come into play. Not good. They can assign ALL of their rights; you can't assign any of yours, which is odd, given the financial services nature of the company. Bottom line, this is a simple app, and yet, no one in a million years would believe the terms of service together is more than 121 pages.


Historical Fairness 5.11 out of 10
Historical User Ratings 10.0 out of 10
Historical Lack of Lawsuits or Arbitrations 10.0 out of 10
Public Placement of TOS Fairness Score & Link 20.0 out of 20
Total Rating 51.11 out of 100
Additional Note

Email addresses: support@acorns.com; copyright@acorns.com; help@acornsecurities.com

Ways to improve

1. Reduce the length of all agreements.
2. Merge agreements together so there are much fewer.
3. Make sure there are no conflicting terms.
4. Fix your law enforcement disclosure.
5. Add fair process and a right to be heard
6. Add the right to appeal and the right to return
7. You have way too many hidden terms in a way too convoluted agreement. Fix this.
8. Allow lawsuits, and in user's home city, worldwide
9. Do not force arbitration, and do not limit one's recovery. Obviously, people can't sue for loss of their investment capital if the markets drop, but any other reason should be fair game.
10. Let users join a class action against you if they wish. If you treat users well, you have nothing to be afraid of.
11. Add your TOS rating and link to your TOS page as outlined in our guidelines. You currently are being given all 20 points.

Review Status Completed

First Name Rating Comment

Reviewed by the following attorneys and/or law students:


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