The terms and conditions are a legally binding contract between a vendor and its users. It outlines the scope under which the vendor offers the products and services and which is deemed to be acceptable. In addition to a terms and conditions document, organisations should also ensure that they have in place all the key policies and documents that are required for it to be compliant with data privacy regulations.
This document is essential in the conduct of business and a vital element of any online presence. Prospective users are required to accept these terms and conditions before they start using the products or services.
You can easily generate your terms and condition policy and include it on your website.
Your terms and conditions will cover all your online services and platforms including:
- Blogs and articles
- Content management systems
- Online shopping platforms
- Mobile devices
- Social media
The vendor can modify the terms and conditions as and when they deem necessary. However, they are obliged to notify the users so that they can review the changes before they become effective.
What is covered under a terms and conditions document?
Whether your terms and conditions have been drafted by a lawyer, or you have utilised either a template or a policy generator, the type of clauses included in each will be the same.
Deciding what needs to be included in your terms and conditions will need a lot of thought and consideration. The following areas should be included in an effective terms and conditions document:
- Applicable law and jurisdiction
- Eligibility criteria for the user of products and services
- Do the users who are accessing your website or mobile app have the capability to create their account and store personal information?
- The action that makes the user enter into a contract, e.g. buying a product or signing up for a service
- Segregation of users, and different offerings that are available to visitors and members
- The offerings available only to members
- Offerings that visitor can use without becoming a member
- Contract renewal policy
The use of personal information:
- The fact that the vendor will collect and use personal information
- The retention period of information
- The sharing of information with other entities and/or affiliate companies
- The measure for securing the information
- The fact that the use of certain products and services will result in monetary charges
- The billing methods acceptable by the vendor
- Whether there are any warranties for the use of the product
- The circumstances under which the provision of services can be terminated by the vendor
- Return policy and conditions under which a product can be returned and money refunded
- If the service provided to users becomes unavailable due to technical issues, could it result in a loss for the user?
- Is the payment system protected against credit card fraud etc.?
- Payments terms including refund policy
- The fact that payment is subject to fluctuation in foreign exchange rates
- The amount of tax payable by the users upon the use of products and services
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protecting the business and their online assets from being unlawfully used.
- The user-generated content
Limitation of liability:
Terms and conditions will ensure no liability exists for the website for any third parties that may be accessed from the business website. This puts the responsibility of accessing other media back to the user and gives the user responsibility to check and agree to the terms and conditions of third parties.
- The ways in which notifications and messages will be provided to the users
- The rights and limits of users
- How to complain to the vendor
- How to contact the vendor
This list is far from exhaustive, but by ensuring the basis of your terms and conditions document is sound, you are providing your business with the required protection.
Each business defines what rules and guidelines are appropriate for it and the details of these are covered in the terms and conditions, and this ensures that the business can keep complete control of who can access their online services and the rights of each user. Keeping this control is critical for businesses in case there is the need to suspend services for a particular individual for example.
A lawyer with experience in drafting terms and conditions for different businesses will be able to guide your business through the steps or you can also utilise a policy generator to produce the desired result as it will take you through all the key areas that you need to cover.
Terms and conditions are an essential element of any online business, should be appropriate for each business and should be included on the website for an online business. They should also form part of the overall policy documents that a business should have in place to ensure that it is compliant with data privacy regulations.
You can either hire a lawyer to draft terms and conditions for your business or you an utilise a policy generator to produce one that is suitable for the needs of your online business or website as well as often being the most cost effective and efficient option.