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What are terms and conditions?
Terms and conditions are the small print that explain how your company works. They set out your rights and responsibilities as a business, as well as the rights and responsibilities of your customers.
Ideally, a terms and conditions page should be no longer than two pages, and it should include:
- The products and services you provide
- The price and manner of payment accepted
- Any guarantees or warranties you offer
- Limit liability if there are any errors in your web content
- Copyright and trademark information
- Information on what happens when the customer wants to terminate service with you
- Where your website is operating from and what the governing law is.
Although terms and conditions are known for being difficult to read, you want to make sure that yours are plain and intelligible, so that both you and your customers can refer to them if any issue arises with your services or products.
Do I need terms and conditions?
Although for many basic websites it is not completely necessary to have a terms and conditions page on your website, it is wise to have them, as it protects you from being held responsible for things that aren’t your fault. However, a terms and conditions page is required if you collect user data. Even if you just use your website for marketing purposes, there are still multiple reasons why you should think about having a terms and conditions page.
Prevent people abusing your site
The terms and conditions page sets out the rules and guidelines your users need to follow to access your website and use your services. This can help prevent users writing harmful language or spamming other users on your comments or forum section.
Make it possible to ban users if necessary
For websites that allow users to register to become part of the community or to access certain services, then it is a good idea to have a clause in your terms and conditions that allows you to ban them temporarily. This could occur if a user is being abusive on your website and is insulting other members.
Make sure you own your content
The Intellectual Property clause is often included in a terms and conditions page, and this stipulates that you own the logo, content, and web design, and that this ownership is protected by international copyright law. This makes sure that nobody can copy anything from your website to replicate on their own site, claiming that they weren’t aware that it was protected by law.
Limit your liability
However many times you edit and reread the copy on your website, there are likely to be a few errors that slip through the gaps. That’s why many terms and conditions sites include a clause that makes sure that the owner of the website can’t be held responsible for errors in the content, or if there are accidental inaccuracies in the information presented.
How to write terms and conditions
It might seem daunting to have to write the small print for your website, but you don’t have to do it yourself! Although many terms and conditions pages are very similar, don’t be tempted to copy and paste another company’s page and put it on your own. As likely stipulated in their terms and conditions, that would be classed as intellectual property theft.
If you have a basic website that you are using as a marketing tool and that doesn’t take users’ personal information or payment details, then you can use an online terms and conditions generator where all you have to do is fill in certain information fields and it is created in a matter of moments.
If your company is slightly more complex, for example if you have an ecommerce website or a subscription service, then it may be worth hiring a lawyer to write up your terms and conditions for you. This can be done fairly inexpensively using an online lawyer who specialises in this field, and will save you a lot of hassle in the long term.
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