company terms of service

How To Write A Proper Company Terms Of Service That Protects Your Business

Linkilaw Company Law, Startup Advice & Tips

I Always Read A Company Terms Of Service, Said No One Ever But That Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t Important

A recurring joke on the Internet says the biggest lie on the planet is, “I have read and understood the company Terms of Service”. Even Urban Dictionary seems to think so.

Not so far off from the truth, would you agree?

It doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, the dreaded acronym is likely to send us all into a yawning fit, but there is a reason this particular legal document exists.

Surveys show just 7% of people read the full company terms of service when buying a product or service online, while one-fifth say they have suffered from not doing so, reports The Guardian.

It’s not the most important part of business but it’s certainly a very important one. Think of it as the massive column that firmly supports your entire business.  

As Tina Nielsen succinctly explained the importance of Terms of Service for The Guardian:

“Neglecting this less sexy part of your business could impact your cash flow through delayed payments and having to pay for materials before taking payments. Plainly, if you don’t specify terms and conditions you put yourself at risk of uncertainty and misunderstandings.”

Here are our top tips for a company Terms of Service that people will actually read:

Set The Ground Rules First

Think of the Terms of Service as the rules of the game, which in their essence is exactly what they are. Stipulate what are the services you offer, as well as the requirements for using them.

Another crucial point is to state clearly that you own the intellectual property of the products or services you sell.

Consider these as legal ground rules that guarantee the future of your business.

Make Sure You Protect Yourself

First things first: limit your liabilities, because silly lawsuits and nagging customers do not happen only to others. 

For instance, if you offer a warranty then state in your Terms of Service you will do so only when reasonable. You can use a friendly, playful tone and language to appeal to the common sense of the reader.

Author Adam Tanguay suggests something along the lines of: “We’re only human and we’ll make mistakes. So please, don’t ask us to take back the product you bought two years ago and broke yesterday. We’re not going to do that. Our kids have to eat, too!”

Well, we don’t know about you, but this would definitely work on us!

Temper The Legal Jargon

Make the most of your company Terms and Services by tailoring it to be as clear, useful and to the point as possible. And yes, you can also pepper it with some humour and personal touch!

In fact, that’s the best possible way to encourage your customers to skim through or actually read them. Bonus tip: Steering clear from daunting legal terms (which are so typical of the so-called legalese) and using friendlier, more common words and phrases is the way to go.

It will make your customers feel closer to you, make them like you more, and feel that human connection.

Don’t Copy/Paste From Other Websites

We understand it is tempting to resort to the ever-so-convenient C/P approach and simply use the text of another website/business/startup/mega corporation/you name it.

But doing so can cause you some proper trouble, as you may be unknowingly committing to obligations and requirements unfit for your business.

“If your company is not equipped to comply with the Amazon privacy policy, for example, why then would you want to copy it?” asks attorney Cynthia J. Larose. “And if your website doesn’t allow users to post to community sites, why would you copy the terms from a site that does?”

If you are still determined to copy, then at least copy well. That means tweaking the terms so that they completely fit the unique needs and requirements of your company.

Get A Legally Watertight Company Terms Of Service

This should give you the clarity you need to write your company Terms of Service. If you still don’t feel confident about writing your own then stress no more!

You can get a customised company Terms of Service written by our legal experts now.

Click the image below to find out how you can protect your business with a legally solid company Terms of Service and prevent any unnecessary lawsuits.

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