Roku's latest terms and conditions update upsets users

Mike Wheatley

Roku has kicked up a bit of a fuss after making some controversial changes to its terms and conditions with its latest update. The change regards its dispute resolution terms, and they came into effect on February 20.


The updated terms pertain to Roku’s somewhat unusual policy that states legal complaints users may have about Roku’s products and services are handled via an arbitrator rather than the courts. This was an old policy, but now, the company is insisted that any complaints first be handled in person or through a call with one of Roku’s lawyers.

Roku users said on the company’s Community Support page that they first began receiving notifications about the updated clause this month. In other words, it was more than 10 days after the changes came into force that they were notified of the new clause. The delayed notification has miffed some Roku customers, but what’s more irritating is that Roku has reportedly disabled devices of customers that don’t accept the new terms.

Granted, most users will likely just click accept on the company’s terms and conditions update without even reading them, but the controversy over Roku’s new policy reinforces the point that users should be paying more attention. The extreme consequences of ignoring terms and conditions were highlighted in season six of the Netflix hit Black Mirror, where a fictional streaming service took over the identity of a user who agreed without even bothering to look.

It’s unlikely that Roku would ever go to such lengths, but the episode is a good reminder that users should exercise some caution when agreeing to such terms and conditions. What’s more, these days we don’t have to spend hours trying to decipher the legal jargon, as there are generative AI tools available that can quickly summarize any terms and conditions in language that’s more understandable. Roku ironically makes the point that if you don’t agree to its new terms and conditions, you can always lodge a complaint… with one of its lawyers.

What’s especially concerning though is the way Roku saw fit to change its policy for existing device users, who never agreed to them when they first purchased their Roku streaming sticks. So they’re forced to either accept, or buy a new product from a rival company.

Interesting enough, some Roku users may well do that. There are multiple comments on the Roku support forums from users who have vented their anger at the new clause and threatened to stop using their devices rather than agree to them. With Roku currently in the middle of a push to bring more annoying ads to its platform, its latest move gives users another good reason to consider jumping ship.