Any business or entity which operates a website should take the time to draft a set of terms and conditions, which will govern the relationship between end-users and the subject website operator in connection with the website and its various offerings.
Website Terms and Conditions are essential in, among other things, establishing the ownership rights of the website owner to the applicable content and offerings featured on the website, limiting the liability of the owner in connection with the website and its content, establishing payment terms and setting the terms for dispute resolution.
Important areas to cover in your website Terms and Conditions
- A description of the functionality of the website and underlying services, products and offerings.
- Applicable payment terms and, relatedly, methods for canceling accounts.
- General disclaimers, and website-specific disclaimers depending on the nature of the website and the underlying content/offering
- Ownership in and to the website and the underlying content/offerings.
- Limitations of liability.
- Applicable restrictions on consumer conduct by and through the website.
- Dispute resolution section, prohibitions on class actions and arbitration provisions.
The specific terms contained in the Terms and Conditions will inevitably vary depending on the type of content/offerings featured on the website, and the underlying commercial relationship between the consumer and the applicable website owner. For example, some Terms and Conditions will have terms governing a web environment that fosters interactions between end-users, while others will not. In addition, where the Terms and Conditions cover products and/or services that consumers must pay a fee to access, there are numerous payment-related provisions that must be included.
It is highly recommended that any Terms and Conditions that you use in connection with your website provide the adequate levels of protection for your business, while anticipating all important contingencies.
Below is an exhaustive list of important Terms and Conditions that you must incorporate into your website:
Change of Mind
- Specify terms (and inform consumers) on the right to cancel an online order
- Specify terms to manage missed delivery
Return costs in case of change of mind
Specify terms regarding who is responsible in case of change of mind:
- delivery costs (basic and express)
- perishable goods and goods that are returned not sealed or intact
- products that have had their packaging removed only for inspection
- services and digital content that have been activated but have not been fully utilized
- return costs (postage) or customer care service (in-store customer desk)
Refund and / or replacement procedures
- Specify terms and conditions for return, replacement, refund request in case customer changes their mind, or non-compliant products (e.g. damaged, incorrect product, expired, missing, incorrect pricing etc.)
- Specify the moment from which the refund process commences, the time needed for refund, refund criteria, method of refund payment (payment cancellation if possible, coupon, bank transfer, …), communication and tracking
Warranty and Claims
- Specify terms for warranty, and define conditions and procedure for returning goods
- Specify terms on critical issues (copyright infringements, safety and security, etc.)
Limitation of liability / Indemnification requirements
- Specify terms on limitation of merchant liability
- Specify accuracy, completeness, confidentiality of account data and security credentials
- Specify terms on acceptance of electronic communication
- Specify terms of conditions for parental control (if required)
- Specify terms for SW copyright, license, usage restrictions for Digital Services
- Specify safety terms for Food, Pharmaceutical products, perishable products