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Website Terms and Conditions – Legal Requirements

February 7, 2019

Nearly every website has a link to its terms and conditions (Ts and Cs) but this document will vary from business to business and you may need more than one set of terms and conditions for your website. Website terms and conditions are different to the Ts and Cs needed for e-commerce for the selling of goods and/or services online. Website Ts and Cs normally exist in a bundle with and link to: Acceptable Use Policy, Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy.

We have template documents that cover all of these requirements and that can be further tailored to your requirements. Our documents also cater for your rights and liabilities should anything go wrong in any of these areas.

In this article we will give you some handy guidance as to the types of website terms and conditions that your business might need, as well as what terms are typically included in each type of document. The specific Ts and Cs which will best suit your website depends on how your users interact with it.

The overarching purpose of Ts and Cs are to provide the contractual and legal relationship between you (as the website owner) and the site’s user.

Website Ts & Cs should generally contain:

  • details of website owner/company including contact options
  • rights of use and access
  • registration requirements, including password and other security measures
  • any necessary fees which need to be paid to use the website
  • if links are provided to other websites, there should be a disclaimer of liability for content on any linked sites
  • disclosure – you give yourself the right to disclose a user’s identity if there is a claim of intellectual property infringement
  • reliance on information posted – make clear that the material available on the site is not to be relied on as advice by the user
  • disclaimer of liability – so as to protect yourself from potential claims form users
  • website availability
  • VAT registration details (if applicable)
  • reference to any privacy or cookies policies, preferably together with links

You can find a Terms and Conditions for Website Use document template on our website that covers all of the main general points required and which can be adapted if necessary for your specific website’s needs.

Non-interactive website

This type of website may provide information and contact details but does not have the option of registered users and does not sell or provide any goods or services.

Such websites will benefit from a fairly standard set of website terms and conditions that includes the clauses outlined above and that cover such areas as the ownership of the website, its copyright and trademark protection, if links to the website are allowed under certain circumstances, third-party advertising displayed, if any, and limitation of liability.

Website acceptable use policy is sometimes used as a separate document to draw the users’ attention to the rules. Where needed, it may also be included as part of your terms and conditions.

Websites where registered users can create accounts and upload information
This type of website requires a more specific and tailored set of terms and conditions and, depending on accessibility, complexity and differences between different types of registered users (such as jobs seekers and jobs providers or child carers and families/nurseries), often more than 1 set of the terms and conditions, each tailored for a specific type of registered user.
If your website has interactive features such as user comments or user-generated content, it’s important to request that users do not post anything illegal or does not conform to content standards of the Acceptable Use Policy.

Typical terms will include rules around what information may be uploaded by registered users, intellectual property rights ownership, viruses, malware and security, acceptable usage policy, how your business may manage each account, including closure of accounts for various reasons, any payment information and payment terms, including late payments and what consequences may follow, choice of law and jurisdiction, data protection, cancellation, termination, liability, events outside of the parties’ control, website downtime and other terms depending on your business.
Each registered user will be required to accept (by tick box) the relevant terms and conditions upon registration.

If you sell goods (including digital goods) or services via your website

Your users will need to tick a box to accept the relevant terms and conditions every time they place an order to buy your goods or services. You will typically have a separate set of terms for the use of the website (accepted at the time of registration for registered users) and then at least one specific set for the sale and purchase of your goods and services.
In relation to specific terms, those often include the description of the goods/services, pricing and availability, orders and how they are formed, payment details, delivery, returns, cancellation, termination, liability, events outside of the parties’ control, data protection, choice of law and jurisdiction and other terms, depending on your business.

e-commerce and your consumers

One of the considerations to have in mind is that where consumers are or will be using your website in cases involving subscription fees and purchase of any goods or services, consumers have the added protection of various pieces of European and UK legislation, including the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This relates to the level of quality and standard of goods and/or services, cancellation rights, returns and refunds. It is illegal to try and exclude these rights and these are typically stated clearly for consumers in the terms and conditions. The definition of “consumer” includes sole traders and certain types of partnerships.

As you business evolves, you may need to change and update your Ts and Cs as your website develops. You can cater for this by stating that you can alter the Ts and Cs at any time and advising them to check back regularly for any changes.

Journey further

The author of this article is expert LawBrief Alla Fairbrother. For business legal advice, please enter an enquiry or call us today on 020 7148 1066 to speak to a member of our friendly Client Care Team.

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