If you have any experience with building an online store, then you are most likely familiar with a Terms and Conditions page. Whether you are a small business selling a few products online or a large corporation with multiple websites, a Terms and Conditions statement gives your customers rules to follow when using your website. It is essentially a loosely binding contract between you and your customers.
Is a Terms and Conditions Page Really Necessary?
When it comes to Terms and Conditions, it’s really about protecting your business against liability. A good Terms and Conditions will clarify any possible misunderstandings that could happen when customers place an online order. It can also spell out the procedure a customer must follow if they are unhappy with your product.
We recommend that you take the time to craft your Terms and Conditions so that it is written specifically for your business needs. We’ve seen many businesses simply grab a template or a copy of a competitor’s Terms and Conditions and post it on their own website. It can be a surprise if they end up in court and a judge disallows or removes any part of the Terms and Conditions contract that does not comply or follow a state’s law. It may be worth it to ask a lawyer to look over your Terms and Conditions page to ensure that it does in fact comply with current state law.
Additionally, many companies fail to update their Terms and Conditions. Once it is written, they forget about it. This could be another costly mistake as rules for the internet can change. We recommend that you schedule a Terms and Conditions website review at least once annually.
How to Understand the Liability Concerns for your Website
To customize a Terms and Conditions page for your website, you really need to understand where your business may be liable. For example, if your website sells artwork, you may be liable for any copyright infringement issues by your artists. If you sell advertising space on your website, you may be liable for any false advertising issues.
How to Begin
The first section of the Terms and Conditions document should include your official company name, address and website. If your company name is different than your website address, it must be clarified in your Terms and Conditions document. We also recommend that your Terms and Conditions page specifically states that continued use of the website means a customer accepts the Terms and Conditions outlined in your document.
Terms and Conditions typically include the following:
Terms for website
Copyright protection for anything on your website
Payment, Delivery, Returns and Compliant Procedures
More About Terms for Website Use
If you are making changes to things like return policy, shipping policy, or general website processes, then we recommend that you inform that customers of these changes to head off any possible confusion the change in policy might bring.
If customers use your website to sign up for accounts or subscriptions to your website, include rules on how these accounts can be used. If the account owner does break the rules and damages your website, you as a business have the right to seek monetary compensation for damages.
Rules for Copy Write Protection of Intellectual Property
A website Terms and Conditions page should include protection for any intellectual property found on your website that is licensed and owned by your business. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a competitor that has used your original content to promote their product. Stipulate that other companies may not make use of pictures, content and layout without receiving permission. This gives you some degree of protection against those that take content. We also recommend you acknowledge the original source of any material or content on your website not owned by you.
Payment Process, Returns, Delivery and Complaints
A Terms and Conditions is the best place to detail how your website will handle payment transactions, deliveries, returns and complaints.
Also include how the product will be delivered to the customer. The three options typically include: shipping, business delivery or customers pick up at one of your approved locations. Include average shipping times so that customers know when to contact you if delivery does not come on the expected date.
Include details on how a customer can return a product if they are dissatisfied. We recommend that you do not make the process difficult as customers can easily spread the word online that your business is difficult to work with. Include how you would like the product returned and stipulate a set time frame on how long they have to return a product.
Furthermore, we recommend that you have a process in place for customers who are dissatisfied. Simple misunderstandings can typically be cleared up before a customer progresses to aggressive trashing of your business online.
Where Do I Put My Terms and Conditions?
Your Terms and Conditions must be posted on your website in an easy to find link. We typically recommend that our customers post at link at the bottom of the page in the area known as the “footer.” It is common for the footer to show up on every page. This allows their customers access to the Terms and Conditions without having to use up valuable website page real estate.
The Terms and Conditions should also be available during the product purchase process.
Still Need Help?
Please call a SecureGlobalPay representative today. We have helped hundreds of customers create a detailed Terms and Conditions policy to help protect their online interests.