So you’ve recently created a website, you’ve got your product, and you’re ready to start selling. At this time, it can be easy to forget what you need to do to ensure your website is complying with its legal obligations. In this article, we’ll cover what you need to do to create Terms and Conditions (Ts&Cs) for your website – one of the most important documents you’ll use.
Website Terms and Conditions
People often gloss over the fine print when it appears in a contract or on a website. However, the fine print is crucial in protecting your website. Terms and conditions regulate the online transactions where you sell your products or services to clients. These operate as a contractual agreement by explaining the terms of trade.
What your Website Terms and Conditions need to include
Your terms and conditions must be accessible and transparent. You should display or have a link to them from your home page and have a ‘click to accept’ button on them. You can also send them by email before you sell anything online.
Your website terms and conditions should have:
- Clauses setting out the delivery of your product
- Payment terms (including refunds, repairs, warranties and cancellations),
- Clauses relating to the ownership of intellectual property on your website.
Terms and conditions are mandatory consumer guarantees 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 businesses to ensure businesses act fairly towards each other.
Even if your business does not display these guarantees, your customers will still have the right refunds and repairs, cancellations and compensation for damages and loss.
Your Ts&Cs ensures that you are complying with consumer guarantees and can help you to alleviate any potential disputes with your clients. They will also minimise your liability when it comes to misleading or deceptive conduct.
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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 website terms and 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. This includes circumstances even where you do not intend to deceive or mislead. Therefore, you should ensure that your website terms and conditions are truthful and accurate.
Creating your own website terms and conditions doesn’t have to be a long and arduous process. It can be done online. If you have further questions about making sure your website is legally compliant, it may be worth contacting a business lawyer.
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