Terms of Use for Business Website

Do I Need Terms of Use On My Business Website?

09/03/2017

There you are. Creating your website, crafting a marketing strategy and ready to get going. Except for one small detail: The Terms of Use page. Do you really need one? Yes and No. Read on and learn how to create the perfect Terms and Conditions – and what to avoid.

“I Agree To The Terms of Use”

“I agree to the Terms of Use.” Some say, this is the biggest lie on the internet. Think about it: How many times have you checked that box without even knowing what you’re agreeing to? Too long, too confusing or not entertaining enough – people spend their precious time on anything but Terms of Use. So why even bother? No-one is going to read them anyway.

Are Terms and Conditions legally required?

In most countries, there is no law that you need a terms and conditions page on a business website. Still, you should have one to protect your business. Fights over late payment, liability and copyright to your site’s content happen more often than you think. Taking them to court is ugly enough, losing at court will be expensive. Very expensive. This is where the Terms of Use come in.

What are Terms of Use

Look at the Terms and Conditions page as a preventive measure to save you time, money and lots of energy. In the Terms of Use or Terms of Trade, you get to set up the rules between you and your clients. Don’t be fooled: You can’t just take all rights away from your customers. Trying to do that shows lack of professional responsibility, and might get you into a legal battle. Be fair, think from your customer’s perspective, and create Terms of Use you yourself would agree to.

Be fair and create Terms of Use you yourself would agree to. Click To Tweet

You don’t need to be a lawyer to set them up – although hiring one would be the most sensible thing to do. If you don’t have the funds for that, here are some tipps on how to write perfect Terms and Conditions.

How do I write Terms and Conditions?

Checking out the terms of similar websites selling similar products are a good way to get you started. But please, don’t stop there! Your Terms and Conditions should be as unique as your business. Think about what sets you apart – and then define your own terms accordingly.

Terms of Use for Business Website

What to include:

There is no rule how to set up your terms and conditions. But there are some elements you should include to make them as strong as possible.

  • Define your Service or Product
    Start with a clear definition of what your business is about. What services do you provide, what products will you sell?
  • Set your Payment Terms
    Even though most payment terms are included in your invoice, it makes sense to set some general rules about deadlines, late payments or fines.
  • Liability
    Do you offer guarantees or warranties? What about third-party liabilities? Be clear about your responsibilities – and where you can’t be held accountable.
  • Copyright
    Who owns the right to the content on your site? If you distribute pictures, movies or texts: What rights of usage do your clients get?
  • Agreement Terms
    How do the parties involved agree to the Terms of Use? Having your customers check a mandatory checkbox with any order is one way to do that. Some websites state something like „By using our website, you agree to the Terms of Use“. These may be questionable agreement terms, but they are still very popular.
  • Privacy Policy
    If your customers pass on private data to you, as is the case with most e-businesses, you are legally required to create a Privacy Policy. Usually, you do that on a special page, sometimes it is include it in Terms and Conditions. If you need help to create a fair privacy policy, look at the Principles for Fair Information Practice (FTC).
  • Governing Law
    Which law is governing your terms of use? This part is crucial – and extremely easy. Just state the city, state and country your business is based in, and you’re done.

Should I use a Terms of Use generator?

Why not? It won’t hurt to use a template or automatic terms of use generator. But again: Please don’t stop there. Use it as a starting point to create your very own terms of use. Think of your specific situation and potential problems that could arise. To be on the safe side, I strongly recommend to show your draft to a legal advisor to close any potential loop-hole and make sure your Terms of Use are safe.

One last thing: Don’t use small print!

Even though Terms of Use are not on people’s favorite reading lists, they are part of your message. Terms and Conditions set the tone between you and your clients – it’s your choice what kind of tone you want that to be. Please don’t use small print and confusing legal slang. Use a simple, straight-forward language instead. Good customer relations start with open and trustworthy communication. Show your clients that you care and respect them.

You don’t agree? Let me know!

Moneypenny

 

P.S. I am no legal advisor, but is my personal ambition to keep your business as safe as possible. This is why MoneyPenny users can attach their Terms & Conditions to any offer our invoice. Try it today!


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