Creating an e-commerce site or blog is now a commonplace occurrence. With each passing day, we hear more and more about people moving their work online and, for many, that means running their own website.
While being your own boss can be fantastic, it also means that you shoulder the responsibility of making sure everything is by the book, lest you find yourself in hot water with the courts during a disagreement with a customer.
One way to make sure that you’re protected from a legal standpoint is to use Terms and Conditions for your website. In this post, we’ll discuss how to make sure your Terms and Conditions protect you and your customers.
If at all possible, you should endeavor to have users read and agree to your Terms and Conditions before browsing your site. By having a visitor agree before engaging your content, you are protected right out of the gate.
However, it’s understandable if you don’t want to burden a potential customer right away and possibly scare them off. Because of this, many sites will only have a user agree to Terms and Conditions if they purchase something or create an account.
At the very least, the second option is absolutely necessary. Once money is on the line, there should be extremely clear consent by both parties. This helps to protect both parties in the event of a disagreement.
What if you run a blog and don’t have users creating accounts, and you aren’t selling anything? In this case, it isn’t 100% necessary to have someone click “Agree” to use your website, but you still need Terms and Conditions for visitors. This helps protect you from clients who may use your website in ways you didn’t intend and is a key reason why Terms and Conditions should be on a website's frontpage.
Because the user won’t be clicking “Agree” unless you explicitly prompt them to, the Terms and Conditions of your site should be easy to locate. Major corporations with experienced lawyers have lost cases regarding Terms and Conditions because the Ts and Cs weren’t easy to locate, and the customer didn’t have an opportunity to consent.
If your customer cannot clearly understand your Terms and Conditions, they are unlikely to agree. Even with the understanding that 99% of people will click “Agree” without actually reading the document, vague or unclear language in contracts is a recipe for disaster.
In the event your case ends up in court, judges don’t look favorably on contracts with unclear language, and you may find yourself on the losing end of a very expensive court case simply because the language you used wasn’t precise.
Remember that Terms and Conditions don’t just protect you–they protect your customer. Because of this, be careful about the Terms and Conditions you use. If you can’t meet the Terms and Conditions you wrote for your own website, you may wind up in court–this is why it’s best to work with a reliable Terms and Conditions resource like The Contract Shop!
Terms and Conditions are a necessary part of any business, especially those online. If you need help crafting this part of your internet presence, be sure to check out our post on how to draft website Terms and Conditions.
Kevin Gallagher is the CEO of The Contract Shop®, a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, coaches, and more. His background is in helping online businesses grow, having previously worked at Allbirds managing part of their operations. He is proud to report that his digital artist wife Mandy is a happy customer of The Contract Shop®, and his main motivation is to help as many people like her as possible with the tools that they need to confidently manage their businesses.
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