Why You Should Never Copy A Terms & Conditions
Although it may be tempting, you should never copy your terms and conditions from another website. Read more to find out why.
Although it might be tempting to copy another website’s terms & conditions, it may become a liability in the future. The risks associated with it can turn into problems for your business later on.
This article discusses why you should never copy your terms and conditions from another website – even if the business is similar. Alternatively, you can customise your terms and conditions to ensure it will hold up.
Terms and Conditions
A website’s terms and conditions regulates your website’s transactions with your users. It serves as a contractual agreement and outlines the rights and liabilities afforded to each party.
Why shouldn’t you copy a terms and condition?
Copying another website’s terms and conditions is considered to be copyright infringement. These are governed by copyright law. Also, it is very easy to see if a terms and conditions is copied from another website. A simple Google search or plagiarism checker website will be adequate.
Every business is different
Each business, no matter how similar they are in their product offerings, are different. Although the business or website is similar, the way the business is structured and operate may be different. For instance, although both Nike and Adidas offer similar products, their refund policy is different. As a result, your terms and conditions must conform to your business practice and operations. Otherwise, you will incur unintended liabilities.
It is a legal document
Your terms and conditions is a legal document. Therefore, the Court looks at it when you are in a dispute with a customer. This is because it is essentially your businesses contract with a customer.
ACCC and ACL Scrutiny
The ACL requires that certain provisions be part of a terms and conditions. For instance, if your website sells goods or services, there is a requirement to include a provision in your terms and conditions that details warranty, guarantee, refund, repair, replacement, and a statement of your business complying with the ACL.
Also, the ACCC has been increasingly checking e-commerce websites and seeing whether or not it complies with ACL requirements. If your T&C does not comply, the ACCC may issue hefty fines.
To read more on ACL’s role in business practices, you can visit their website.
It’s better for your customers
It is very important for a business to be able to retain a customer. Since your T&C is your businesses contract with a customer, it outlines your customers rights and liabilities in purchasing the product or service your website offers. Therefore, a poorly written agreement filled with loopholes and misleading provisions may make it hard for your customer to claim certain things. One poorly written clause may also invalidate the entire contract.
As you can see, there are many risks associated with copying another website’s T&C. Although another business may seem similar, it has different structures and operations. Because of this, it is recommended that your T&C be tailored specifically to your business. If you’re unsure whether your current T&Cs document is sufficient, it’s worth consulting with a business lawyer.
Ryan currently works in the content team as a Legal Intern for Lawpath. He is in his third year of a Bachelor of Law and Business degree at UTS.