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Having terms and conditions on your website is a great way of providing legal protection to the business by limiting liability in case a customer or client decides to take legal action against you. If you’ve clearly displayed all the legal terms freely on your website, that goes a long way to rebut any arguments that they weren’t aware of any terms prior to purchase.
Website terms and conditions should be freely available on your website and disclose all the major legal obligations which your customers need to consider before they purchase from your business. They disclose prices, payment terms, refund policies, disclaimers/waivers with the products or services themselves, and all relevant information about use etc that need to be brought to the attention of your customers by Law, all of your terms of business prior to purchase.
We strongly recommend obtaining expert and considered legal advice before publishing your website terms and conditions, to make sure they are covering the business for what it is doing exactly – to make sure there is nothing left unsaid, everything is clear in black-and-white, nothing contradictory or vague. The key is not to leave any loopholes. Consumers are like a “protected species” in the eyes of the Law.
What you should include in your website terms and conditions depends on what types of products and services your business is offering, but generally speaking, website terms and conditions should cover:
It’s also worthwhile including disclaimers outlining all circumstances that you’re not liable or responsible for specific to your products and services and possibly seek an indemnity from your customers for any claims made against you as a result of the customer using your product or services.
For more details on what to include in terms and conditions generally see our article here.
It is a legal requirement in Australia that a business takes all reasonable and necessary steps to bring to the attention of its customers all of its terms of business prior to purchase.
Having terms and conditions freely available on its website assists a business in complying with those legal obligations.
The benefit of this is also that at a checkout page or enquiry page on your website you can link to your terms and conditions with a check box where customers are required to acknowledge that they have read and agree to your terms and conditions.
It is strongly advisable that a business displays its terms and conditions freely and easily on its website in order to comply with its obligations under Australian Consumer Law.
Every business that provides goods and services should have its terms and conditions on its website. This ensures that both parties are clear on their rights and obligations and serves to greatly limit your business liability.
Unless they are displayed on the website, it can be argued about what the legal agreement is.
It doesn’t tend to deal with provisions specific to the products or services on offer but essentially outlines:
Disclaimers are a great way to limit your legal liability for “big ticket” items of risk.
Generally, disclaimers should highlight any circumstances that you want to bring to your customer’s attention that they acknowledge your business is not responsible or liable for and any other matters that limit your liability.
Disclaimers vary depending on the type of business, whether you sell products or services, but for example might include:
Using someone else’s terms and conditions is extremely dangerous from a copyright perspective.
If you copy someone else’s legal documents, it technically breaches their Copyright under the Copyright Act. There is now sophisticated software that allows a business to search for copyright infringed material and there is no defence to copyright infringement under these circumstances.
There have been plenty of instances where competitors have seen copyright infringement and have taken those businesses to Court as it is fairly straightforward if it’s blatant copyright infringement.