Few things ignite more passion and energy than launching your own business.
For many, it is the start of a lifelong dream of building an enterprise that allows them to deliver the kind of customer service and quality of work they have always dreamed of.
Whether you are at the start of this journey or well on your way, one thing that will contribute to your success is having a robust set of Terms and Conditions
(T&C). In this article, we will explain why T&Cs are so important and how they can be created to suit your business.
What are T&Cs?
Your T&Cs set out how you trade. It is a contract between you and your customers regulating how you do business. They can either set out what you have agreed with a particular purchaser or be a blanket, non-negotiable set of terms used for every customer on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis’.
What should my T&C contain?
Certain elements of your T&C will be unique to your business; however, most will contain information on:
- The goods and services you are selling
- The price of your goods and services, including information about price increases if you are selling an ongoing service
- How and when the consumer must pay for their product or service.
- Any penalties applied for late payment
- How your products or services will be delivered and provisions regarding carriage risks and insurance
- Limitations on your liability, for example, if the goods are lost during delivery.
- Your cancellation and renewal policies
- Data protection policies and procedures
- Consumer indemnities (circumstances where the client must pay you for any losses or expenses incurred)
- Intellectual property and confidentiality clauses
- How disputes will be resolved
Where should I place my T&Cs?
Your T&Cs should be positioned on your website in a prominent place and be accessible through hyperlinks. If you require a sign-up form from new customers, acceptance of your T&C should be mandatory and definitive acceptance of them sought, e.g. click this box / click this button to accept our Terms and Conditions.
Is it a legal requirement to have T&C?
There is no legal requirement to have T&Cs. However, not setting out express terms on how you do business can leave you exposed to costly and resource-draining liabilities.
- The personal data you collect
- How that data will be used and where it will be stored
- Who the data is shared with
- How long the data will be kept for
- The data subject’s right to access their personal data
Can’t I just copy someone else’s T&Cs
This is a dangerous path to follow. Your business will always be unique, with many variations on how you engage customers as opposed to other firms.
Many times, going down this route has been seen as a false economy, when getting your T&Cs professionally reviewed or created costs less than you may think.
Getting your T&Cs right not only provides certainty for your customers, but also your employees who can quickly check the document if they receive a customer query regarding payment, delivery, cancellation, etc.
Below are actions you can take to create a robust T&C:
- Decide what terms and conditions your business needs so you can trade in a profitable and ethical manner
- Talk to a Commercial Solicitor about the above. They will quickly spot any gaps in the terms you want to include
- Have your Solicitor draft your T&C. They will ensure all the relevant information is included, the document protects your best interests, and any legal compliance requirements specific to your industry are included
- Place your T&C in a prominent place on your website and include copies in any sales and marketing packs
- Continue to update your T&C as your business grows and/or regulations change
You can get legal assistance from LawBite
Businesses deal with people and other businesses on a daily basis. This means that your enterprise must deal with other business contracts all the time. Clients, suppliers, employees, investors, landlords, tenants, consultants and partners - you had, have or will have business contracts with them. Getting your terms and conditions of service right is critical in both the online and offline worlds. New regulations are coming out all the time and keeping up is hard for most business leaders.
If you are not sure what you should cover and need legal advice, then speak to one of our friendly lawyers who can review your T&Cs and help refine them where required.
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with one of our friendly lawyers to get your agreement reviewed and working for you. If you want to find out more about our subscription plans, click here.
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