Does your company post its standard Terms and Conditions on its website? If your response to this questions is “What are Terms and Conditions?” then please continue reading.
Without a Terms and Conditions Agreement, there are no established rules or guidelines for how your customers and the public interact with your company and its website. There are other names that this agreement can go by:
- Terms of Service Agreement
When one is well written, it outlines the responsibilities of someone who is using your site or purchasing products and services from you. It is also a potential future tool for your attorney. He or she can use it to protect you and your interests.
Imagine if you were to physically invite someone into your business and they got injured. They may come after you in court for damages or injuries. This is why business owners purchase liability insurance.
Think of terms and conditions as a layer to safeguard you from the following:
- Someone being harmed because he or she used your website
- Prevents people from taking any intellectual property displayed on your website
If someone files a complaint against you, the courts will likely reference the terms and conditions that were part of the transaction.
This could also extend to any logos, designs, taglines, or content on your website. This will ensure someone cannot take something you have written and pass it off as your own.
If you are selling something on your website, it is highly recommended that you have terms and conditions that govern the sale. This is where seeking legal counsel can help you. Can you copy and paste forms or examples you find online? Probably.
But if you end up in a legal dispute, how confident are you going to be when a judge looks over a cookie-cutter terms and conditions sheet? Your business, your property, and your livelihood may be tied to that document. DIY agreements actually keep lawyers in business and we never recommend that you use them.
Terms and Conditions can even help your company get paid. We recommend that all of our clients include language on their invoices stating that all sales are subject to client’s standard terms and conditions. This can be very useful if a customer happens to ignore your invoices. If you need to bring the dispute to your lawyer, the provision in your Terms and Conditions stating that if the customer does not pay within X days, they are responsible for collection costs—including attorneys’ fees. The threat of paying your attorneys’ fees is very effective in resolving disputes sooner rather than later.
Have An Attorney Write Them
The right attorney will include language to protect you, what you’re selling and your intellectual property. Specifically, you don’t want any crack in your terms and conditions that will allow them to be altered for someone else’s benefit. Some examples of how to prevent this:
- All purchases are conditional on Buyer’s assent to Terms and Conditions of Sale…
- Nothing additional or contrary…will serve as a waiver of the Terms and Conditions of Sale…
- [You] reject any contrary terms submitted by the Buyer
These are examples of phrases that may be worked into a properly drafted Terms and Conditions Agreement. When you meet with your attorney, ask him or her what they are included to prevent third parties from interpreting your terms and conditions in a way that benefits them.
Add another layer of protection by having your users sign or check a box that they have read and agree with the conditions you have established. You can also prevent international laws from overriding your terms and conditions.
- Declare that the sale is governed by the law of the state you are in
- Exclude the UN Convention on International Sale of Goods for international sales
Having a professionally drafted Terms and Conditions Agreement is one way to protect your intellectual property and your business. At Neve Webb, we are committed to delivering high-end legal services for anyone who is forming a business, is dealing with employment issues, and trying to protect intellectual property. Contact us to schedule your consultation. We can also be reached at (952) 746-2400.
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