Website Terms & Conditions

Website terms and conditions are an essential feature of most websites these days. They act as a legal notice to users, visitors and customers of your website who will have to accept these terms and conditions in order to use and browse your website.

What is the purpose of having terms and conditions on my website?

Having terms and conditions on your website gives your business a professional image. Customers who are planning to purchase items off a website will often seek the terms and conditions to review the refund and return policies. Failing in having terms and conditions can potentially lead to lost business.

Website terms and conditions also provide various other benefits as well, depending on what clauses you choose to include.

What type of websites should have website terms and conditions?

Not all websites require terms and conditions however, if your business is selling products or services online, you will need to have terms and conditions on your website. This includes businesses who sell products on behalf of other companies or those who advertise products or services for another business.

If you fail to have terms and conditions on your website, particularly if you engage in selling goods and services, you may be found to be in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.

How are website terms and conditions different from a privacy policy?

A privacy policy deals with how your business handles the personal information of the users who access and visit your website. The terms and conditions may include this information however, it is preferable for them to be separate for greater user access.

Fundamental features of website terms and conditions

The Australian Consumer Law outlines essential terms and conditions which every website should have if they are in the business of selling goods and services. These terms and conditions include;

  1. a statement on how you comply with the Australian Consumer Law;
  2. an outline on how you will provide refunds, repairs, or replacements for defective products;
  3. details regarding your guarantee; and,
  4. details regarding your warranty should one exist.

Depending on your type of business, there will be more essential terms to include in your website’s terms and conditions. We always recommend seeking legal advice from one of our expert lawyers who will be able to assist you in drafting terms and conditions specific to your business.

Where should the terms and conditions be located on my website?

Similar to a privacy policy, the terms and conditions must be visible and easily accessible on your website. Importantly, users must be able to access the terms and conditions on every page of your website. That is why you will often find the terms and condition in the footer of a website.

If users engage in purchasing products or services on your website, it is also preferable to require the user to accept the terms and conditions prior to checkout. This will ensure that your liability is limited to your terms and conditions.

Reasons why you should have terms and conditions on your website

There are various benefits that you will gain by having terms and conditions on your websites, these include:

  1. Intellectual Property Rights

Depending on your website, your terms and conditions may include an intellectual property rights clause which prevents others from copying such content. In the event that such content is copied, your terms and conditions provide a legal basis to pursue appropriate action.

 

  1. Termination of user accounts

If users are able to create accounts on your website, terms and conditions that contain a termination clause will allow you to terminate accounts which do not act appropriately. For those websites that do allow users to create accounts, a ban clause is another common clause to have which will enable you to ban accounts that act inappropriately.

  1. Limits your liability

By having terms and conditions on your website, it provides you with the opportunity to outline what you will not be held responsible for and therefore limit your liability. This is particularly important for those businesses selling products of another business.

  1. Allows you to set the jurisdiction

Unfortunately, terms and conditions do not operate on a worldwide basis as it is near impossible to draft a set of terms and conditions that can work in all jurisdictions. Therefore, your terms and conditions will enable you to select the jurisdiction that you are in (e.g., Queensland). This means that if a user commences a claim against you, it will have to be within the jurisdiction that you select.

That said, if you operate in the UK and US markets, having Australian terms and conditions can be reviewed to ensure that they comply with the major legislations from those markets.

Conclusion

While it may be tempting to use a terms and conditions generator or even copy another website terms and conditions, we strongly advise against this. Not only will you be doing your business and interests a disservice but, more importantly, you may be found in breach of copyright law.

Our lawyers at GLG Legal have extensive experience in drafting terms and conditions for businesses from all types of industries. We take the time to understand what your business offers and we use this to create bespoke terms and conditions for your business.

If you are creating a website that needs terms and conditions or if you need your terms and conditions reviewed, feel free to contact our office for assistance.