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Why You Shouldn’t Use Free Terms and Conditions You Found Online

Why You Shouldn’t Use Free Terms and Conditions You Found Online

We all suspected it for some time, but it’s official:  studies show that no one actually reads the terms and conditions, in addition to other agreements and policies. We  promise  we do when we click “Agree” or “Submit,” but it’s all a lie. 

BUT. That’s no excuse to leave terms and conditions out of your contracts or off your website if you’re a business owner. People may not be reading them word-for-word, but if you don’t include terms and conditions when needed, you could be breaking the law and incurring some costly fines.

Your first instinct may be to find free terms and conditions on the internet and use them in your contracts or website, but we’re here to tell you that’s a bad idea.

They may not cover all your legal bases

Terms and conditions are important because they create a binding contract between your website and the site user,orbetween you and your client. 

If you leave them off of your website, people could  potentially share or reuse your content in ways that you don’t like. And that could lead to not-so-fun stuff like copyright infringement lawsuits. Solid terms and conditions for your website will outline information like:

  • What info you collect and what you do with it
  • How collected i information is protected
  • Who’s advertising on your site and what they can access
  • How users can use your content
  • Online shop policies like shipping, refunds, returns, etc.
  • Intellectual property

Similarly, the terms and conditions in your client contracts will  outline the relationship between you and your client. You want to include them in your contracts so your services or products are used in the way you intended. 

When you grab free terms and conditions off the internet, what’s the likelihood that you’re reading it line by line to make sure it has everything you need? Pretty low, right? If you’re looking for something free that you can quickly toss into your contracts or on your website, we bet you won’t take the time to check these T&Cs for accuracy.

And that, friends, is a mistake. Free terms and conditions may look legit since they’re written in legalese, but they may lack important clauses, language, or phrases that protect you from legal issues.

It’s not worth the risk

We’ve mentioned a few times by now that no one reads terms and conditions anyway. So yes, you should still have them to cover your legal booty…but what’s the chance that someone will notice and actually file a lawsuit against you?

We can’t predict the risk for you, but using free terms and conditions means there is a higher risk of someone bringing a lawsuit against you. If you go to court, those free T&Cs won’t work as a very strong defense.

What’s better, using free terms and conditions and paying thousands of dollars in legal fees and penalties down the line? Or investing in a rock solid, comprehensive set of terms and conditions that won’t leave you vulnerable to lawsuits?

Quick note: We hope this goes without saying, but don’t use “free” terms and conditions that you copy from another business. That’s illegal, since they’re copyright protected under U.S. copyright law. You might find a  cease and desist letter from that business or even end up in court for copyright infringement.

Don’t leave terms and conditions out of your contracts

Free terms and conditions are not a good idea for your business, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to write them for you, either! In addition to being expensive, that can take a long time, and they don’t get updated unless you pay  more  money.

That’s why we recommend  our terms and conditions templates. Whether you need terms and conditions for your website, eCommerce store, or client contracts, we’ve got you covered. Each template protects you and your biz by outlining the important stuff like information you collect, what you do with it, and all that jazz. 

Our templates are legally legit since they’re attorney-prepared and peer-reviewed, so they’re more trustworthy than those free T&Cs you found online, but less pricey than what a lawyer would charge you for the same document.  Find the terms and conditions template for your biz right now in our shop!

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