Modern times have forced more & more businesses to go online & with the rise of COVID-19, there hasn’t been a better time to switch. Many businesses are switching to the online medium, which is giving rise to many new challenges. One of them is writing the Terms & Conditions of your website. The lack of information in the mainstream media can create many problems in starting a business with long-term well defined policies. Therefore, catering to the business this article aims to clarify all the ins-and-outs of Terms & Conditions for your website, allowing you to understand & write your own.
What are Terms & Conditions
Terms & conditions are basically a list of rules & Clauses which the user of the website is supposed to know & understand in order to enforce his or her rights. However, it is more important for the business to safeguard its own rights than the user. In simple terms, it’s a clarification of the business relationship between itself & the user. The more comprehensive it is the better. However, the best practice is to make it simple & accurate so that users can understand easily & use your website effectively while being informed about their rights & consequences.
Points to Remember
Before, starting we must keep the following points in mind:
- Simplicity : The terms & conditions should be simple enough for any common man to understand. There is no need for any complex terms, however it should also be very accurate in terms of what it says.
- Transparency : Your terms & conditions should be as neutral as possible. This will allow your business to gain the trust of the users. It is very essential for the user to trust your website in order to use it.
- Understanding of the Business : Anyone writing the terms & conditions should have a proper understanding of the business.
- Legal Aspects : For different sectors there are different sectoral regulations which one must comply with. Terms & Conditions should be written in reference to the policies.
- Ethics : Digital ethics & data protection laws should also be taken into consideration. The business model should be in accordance with the data protection laws, it is always advisable to get your policies reviewed by a lawyer.
Your DIY Checklist
Keeping the above in mind you are now ready to start. There is a checklist that you should go through in order to write a fine Terms & Conditions Policy:
- Info about the website & the business which operates that website : The first thing to start with, is a good introduction of your business. This shall include a basic introduction of what your business aims to do for the consumer.
- Acceptance of terms & conditions for use: : This is the first main section of your Terms . This shall say that the user accepts the terms & conditions of your website that you will mention. Then we will move to writing the conditions that would apply if a user uses your website.
- Disclaimer : This would be different from business. Mention anything which you think can be problematic that a user may face after using your website. It should be clear & easy to understand.
- Description of Services : Mentions all the services that a user will get after using your website.
- Permitted use of the website(age restriction/NSFW , what can be commented on .etc) Mention who can use your website. This would depend on the target audience of your business. If you target kids as your target customer you have to be very sensitive about adult content that they may be present on your website.
- Intellectual Property Rights : Depending on your policy you will reserve or provide Rights & ownerships of the Intellectual Properties on your website of your or your users.
- Billing & Payment Policies & procedures : Mention all the billings & payment procedures that the users need to go through thoroughly including all commissions & taxes.
- Returns & refunds it required : Depending on your type of business you will mention your refund & return policy. This is not compulsory, it depends from business to business.
- Operating Laws : Mentions the Law & Jurisdiction of courts which applies to your company & website.
- Liability clause : Mention your liability in different tsunarios of disputes. It should be elaborative & to the point. This clause will protect you in case of any disputes.
- Dispute Resolution : Mention how disputes will be resolved & procedure that the parties are supposed to adopt.
Drafting terms & conditions can be a complex process but small businesses can draft a competent Policy by following through the above checklist. However, a final review from a lawyer is always advisable. One must remember that all points in the checklist have the potential to be a whole section in itself and should not only be limited to a single clause. A long term terms & conditions policy is best suited to avoid undesirable suits by the user. Therefore, the person shall always consider all possibilities before drafting & shall not shy away from professional help if needed.