Yep, one of the the most boring pages on any website. That link in the bottom corner? It turns out they are actually quite important.
Website Terms and Conditions (not to be confused with Terms of Business) explain how your website is to be used. They are a contract between you and your website visitor outlining the relationship between the two of you while they use your website. Among other things, they explain what users can and can’t upload, how you use and process payment through the site, and where the customer can find your privacy and cookie policies.
They can also provide protection for you in case something written on the website is incorrect or misleading. They can also eliminate your legal liability when people use the information on your website.
Startup life is fragile – it can be disrupted or even destroyed by the smallest legal mishap. These Terms and Conditions are one way to prevent this.
Why Do You Need Terms And Conditions?
It’s quite simple really – legal protection, a legal cavalier vest. They are the best way to protect yourself and your website from unseen bullets.
Let’s suppose you have a section where visitors can upload content to the website, be that pictures, words, or videos, and one visitor uploads something defamatory or offensive. You need to be able to remove this. Without terms and conditions outlining your right to do so, you might be in a tricky situation.
What about another one. Suppose your website contains advice – maybe about healthcare – and there is a mistake that causes someone monetary loss. You need to be able to protect yourself here with liability provisions.
One more for luck. What if you are sharing information on your website that is important to your business or that is protected by copyright or trademark? You need to mention in the terms that the information on the website is protected. If this is not clear, and someone disseminates the information passing it off as their own, your case against them will be considerably weaker.
Ok that’s enough in terms of examples but you get the picture. Website T&Cs are legal protection that can prevent damage to you or your business coming through your site.
What Should Be Included In My Terms And Conditions?
We aren’t going to go into all the details – that would bore us all to tears – but here are a few good starting points.
The most obvious one. The spells out the company registration number, if incorporated, company address, and tends to include an email address to contact the business if a customer has a query regarding the terms and conditions.
2. Information On Privacy
3. Use Of The Website
This is also pretty obvious. By including this part in the website terms and conditions, you reserve the right to withdraw, restrict, or change your service offering, keep information relating to your users confidential. It can also spell out cyber security provisions and fees due, if you’re website is subscription based.
4. Info On Accounts, Including Termination
If your website requires an account to be created, then this clause must spell out what the termination process is, in what circumstances your business can revoke a user’s account, and measures to ensure that passwords and usernames are kept confidential.
5. Intellectual Property (IP)
This part of your website terms and conditions spells out that you own everything! Whether it’s content you’ve created, branding materials, or even material your users upload. Beware users- if you violate this provision, the business can suspend your use of its services.
6. Liability Limitations
By including this, you protect yourself from certain events that you could be held liable for if you didn’t include this clause. The only things you can not limit your liability on are personal injury or death.
What Will A Good Lawyer Tell You?
Every single business is different. There isn’t one size that fits all.
You place your business at risk by downloading an online template. It is likely that provisions your business needs will not be in there.
Remember. The person who has drafted that template could have no legal training whatsoever.
They could be someone working a checkout at your local supermarket, a prankster, or a law student. These are just some of many important considerations as pointed out by Catey Hall in this article.
Anything Else I Need?
Need a professionally drafted website terms and conditions? Then we’ve got you covered. Click the image below to get a customised website terms and conditions.