Getting started online
So you’ve recently created a website, you’ve got your product and you’re ready to start selling – but how do you make sure you’re complying with your legal obligations to protect consumers and your business?
You need to make sure you’ve got comprehensive and clear website terms and conditions (T&C’s).
What are Website Terms and Conditions?
It’s all about the small print.
The website T&C’s regulate the online transactions where you sell your products or services to clients. The terms and conditions operate as a contractual agreement by explaining the terms of trade. They must be accessible and transparent, being attainable from the home page and present through a ‘click to accept’ button, or sent by email, before a transaction has been conducted.
A websites T&C’s include clauses setting out product delivery, payment terms, refunds, repairs, warranties and cancellations.
Do I need Terms of Conditions for my website?
T&C’s are mandatory consumer guarantees that are required under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The ACL sets out a number of consumer guarantees, requiring businesses to comply with minimum standards and responsibilities in order to protect consumers. All Australian businesses are subject to the rules set out by the ACL. The ACL also governs the interaction between business, protecting your business from being treated in an unconscionable way by another business.
A failure to deliver on these consumer guarantees provides your customers with rights to: refunds and repairs, cancelling a service; and compensation for damages and loss.
Having a set of T&C’s ensures that you are complying with consumer guarantees and can help you to alleviate any potential disputes with your clients. They also have the effect of minimizing your liability against misleading or deceptive conduct.
Limiting your liability
Consumer guarantees must be complied with (i.e. ensuring goods will be of acceptable quality) and cannot be contracted out of. However if your business supplies or manufactures goods or services not used for personal, domestic or household purpose (i.e software), you can limit remedies to:
- Replacing or repairing goods.
- Reimbursing the consumer for repairing or replacing the goods.
- Re-supplying services.
- Reimbursing the consumer for paying someone else to supply the services.
Having a Terms of Conditions can also limit your liability in relation to third party information and/or content is included on your site. You do not want to be held accountable for information/content that do not represent your views and that you have no control over.
What is ‘deceptive and misleading conduct’?
It is illegal for your business to engage conduct that is deceptive or misleading, or is likely to deceive or mislead consumers or other businesses. This includes circumstances even where you do not intend to deceive or mislead.
How do I create my website terms and conditions?
Creating your own Website Terms and Conditions takes less than 5 minutes, meaning you can start safely and securely selling online now!
Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our largest online network of expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.