What is one thing a website’s terms and conditions should include?
To help you determine what to include in your website’s terms and conditions, we asked legal professionals and CEOs this question for their best insights. From establishing a point of contact to stating your return and cancellation policies, there are several tips that may help you create a terms and conditions agreement that protects your business’s website.
Here are 12 things you should include in your terms and conditions:
- Establish a Point of Contact
- Make Sure the Warranties Are Explained
- Allow the Website to Change the Terms at Any Time
- Define Ownership of Content
- Include Cookie and Data Collection Information
- Summarize Your Terms and Conditions
- Prohibit Abusive and Harassing Behavior
- Provide Payment Terms
- Clearly State “for Educational and Informational Purposes Only”
- Create a Legally Enforceable Agreement
- Establish Limitation of Liability
- State Your Return and Cancellation Policies
Establish a Point of Contact
Every website’s terms and conditions should include a point of contact or a way to contact the company. It keeps information flowing between customers and businesses alike, helping keep customer satisfaction afloat. It is very easy to link social channels, emails, and phone numbers on a T&C.
Shaun Price, MitoQ
Make Sure the Warranties Are Explained
If you run a website that is selling a product that offers a warranty, make sure the warranty is explained thoroughly. The terms and conditions are a long, wordy mess which you have to make sure covers all aspects of your business. Warranties are one of the most questioned parts of a terms and conditions. Therefore, making sure the warranty section is able to answer all the questions a customer might have will save you a lot of time.
Connor MacDonald, The Ridge Wallet
Allow the Website to Change the Terms at Any Time
A website’s terms and conditions should include a clause that allows the website to change the terms and conditions at any time, without notice. This is because websites frequently update their terms and conditions to reflect business model changes or address new legal challenges. By having a clause that allows the website to change the terms and conditions at any time, without notice, the website can ensure that its users are always compliant with the latest version of the terms and conditions.
Natalia Brzezinska, PhotoAiD
Define Ownership of Content
Content, especially when it denotes expertise and holds high value, proves to be extremely valuable in the online sphere. This is why the ownership of any content, written or otherwise, should be clearly defined in the terms and conditions section. Commonly known as the “Intellectual Property Clause,” the clause covers all the existing content, features, and functionality on the website and proclaims ownership per international copyright laws.
Azmaira Maker, Ph.D., Aspiring Families
Include Cookie and Data Collection Information
Hector Ruiz, BBQ Grill Academy
Summarize Your Terms and Conditions
I’d recommend summarizing the full scope of your T&C at the beginning or end of the web page. Most users skip over this information because it’s dense and hard to understand, even though it directly affects them. A summary of what’s inside, with the caveat that the summary is only a condensed version of the text, can be useful. They’ll understand which sections to look into deeper if they want more information, without having to read the entire document.
Jeffrey Gabriel, Saw.com
Prohibit Abusive and Harassing Behavior
A terms-and-conditions agreement serves as a contract between you and the users of your website. You can set the policy of what constitutes unacceptable behavior in your agreement. You can state that people cannot harass or use defamatory language against another user. You should also state explicitly that spamming other users or attempting to gather personal information about other users is strongly prohibited. Include language that explains the consequences of such behavior. State plainly that those found abusing other users and violating other policies designed to protect users will result in them being banned from the website.
Alan Ahdoot, Adamson Ahdoot Law
Provide Payment Terms
Websites should provide payment terms to let people know how payment of products or services will work, as well as any consequences for not paying in a timely manner. This will make things clear for those curious about payment terms. Remember that if these terms are not understood, people may not want to bother with the idea of becoming customers.
Drew Sherman, Carvaygo
Clearly State “for Educational and Informational Purposes Only”
As a lawyer who helps online business owners craft their website policies, there are a lot of clauses that I recommend businesses include in their website terms and conditions. There are a number of clauses that everyone tends to think about, like the refund policy or the acceptable use policy. In my view, the most important (and often overlooked) clause is one that makes clear that the information on the site is provided for “educational and informational purposes only” and should not be understood as professional advice of any kind. This clause requires website visitors to take personal responsibility for how they decide to use any information on your website rather than blame the business owner for bad results.
Bobby Klinck, BobbyKlinck.com
Create a Legally Enforceable Agreement
Even if you create foolproof terms and conditions for your website, the key is to make sure they are enforceable. Both sides of a legal contract must agree to the terms and conditions in order to create a legally enforceable agreement. Basically, for the agreement to be enforceable by the law, reasonable notice and an opportunity to review the agreement in combination with clicking on the “I agree” checkbox create the legal contract. Adding a box where the user needs to scroll through the full T&C before even being able to tick the box which says they understand and agree to the Terms and conditions is highly recommended. One should always link to the legal agreement page right next to the checkbox to make it easier for users to read the agreement.
Klara Dumancic, Alpha Investors
Establish Limitation of Liability
Limitation of liability protects your business from any derogatory content posted on your website by a third party. While every website owner may believe their website to be free from outside interference, it’s important to remember that even a review or comment left behind by someone could make you liable. After all, it is content found on your website, which makes you responsible for it. This is where the liability limitation clause kicks in, absolving you of any wrongdoing when it comes to third-party works.
Eva Taylor, WP Buffs
State Your Return and Cancellation Policies
State your company’s policies about returns or cancellations, whether they are allowed or not. This way, when a customer has decided that they are no longer interested in a company’s products or services, they will be able to find out easily if they can receive a refund or not, rather than having to inquire by contacting the business. This can also be helpful for people who have some interest in becoming a customer but are not 100% sure if they want to risk making the purchase just yet.
Jared Hines, Acre Gold