Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; buyer side

Marketplace websites connect buyers and sellers. This terms and conditions template defines the relationship between your business and buyers (individuals or businesses) who use the market that your website creates. This document provides your business with protection in case a transaction between users of your website fails, and gives you strong legal protection against malicious use of your website and misuse of your intellectual property.

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About this terms and conditions document

This website terms and conditions template sets out the relationship between your business and buyers who use your website to buy. The goods bought and sold could be anything. We have provided for basic contract procedures, but delivery information must come from the seller as they will not be the same for a tee shirt as for an item of industrial plant.

You might specialise in one product, or you could sell a wide range of products. You do not need to have more than one seller client but we assume that you will. Most of your sellers probably use your services because they do not have an internet facility for taking money or because your marketing service is better than they could achieve. You are simply marketing and collecting money.

This is one of the two T&C documents you'll need if you operate a website that provides a marketplace. This document sets out the terms of use for your buyers, and the obligations that a buyer has to a seller located through your website.

Because each marketplace website has its own business model, we provide separate agreements for terms with buyers and sellers. You should therefore pair this document with the most suitable seller side marketplace T&C document we offer. See below.

Is this template suitable for your website?

This template is for any website that creates a marketplace where goods are sold. It does not matter what type of experience that may be. Your site could connect buyers and sellers of small 'consumer' items such as rare coins or electrical homewares or large items used by businesses, such as cranes.

Examples of websites for which this template could be used include:

  • websites that create online shop fronts for manufacturers, wholesalers or producers where the product descriptions are controlled by the seller;
  • trading sites for second-hand goods (for example, books, furniture, computer parts, collectables) where the owner offers an item for sale;
  • sites that bring together retailers of different types of goods to offer a one-stop shopping experience to buyers (an online 'department' store where each retailer has a separate concession).

The template is ideal for a site which:

  • only connect buyers with sellers. Your business should not also be a seller, nor should it hold stock or fulfil orders on behalf of sellers;
  • could provide additional functionality that allows buyers to interact with sellers or with other site visitors, for example, product reviews, feedback, forums, or questions;
  • provides payment facilities, collect taxes and fees and reimburse the seller the net sales value;
  • has sellers that pay you either by commission or by a transaction fee;
  • either allows sellers to upload their own product pages or product advertisements OR instructs you to do that for them;
  • provides a marketing service to sellers;
  • has either regular sellers (for example, ones that operate their business from your site), or allows one-off sales.

The benefit of clear terms and conditions

Website terms and conditions are probably the best example of a legal document where use of plain English strengthens the legal effect of the document. If a dispute should arise, it would be hard for a user of your site to claim that he did not understand, even if English is not his first language.

Using this document on your website will help you to:

  • set out clearly how your business works and how buyers should act and behave;
  • ensure that sellers and buyers receive the quality of service that you aim to provide;
  • present a professional image of your business. Our use of plain English helps ensure that sellers do not feel intimidated by overly formal or legalistic language;
  • prevent misunderstandings and make solving disputes easier;
  • protect your website from misuse (we include paragraphs that set out exactly how buyers can interact with your website, and what they cannot do);
  • protect your business from complaints about content that your buyers posted - particularly important if buyers can post product information or interact with sellers without you actively monitoring every post or message.

Similar templates

This document provides terms between your business and buyers of products within your marketplace:

If you are in any doubt as to which T&C template you should choose, please contact us.

The law in this document

The law in these T&C is largely common law that deals with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, price and payment, provision of service, liabilities and risk. By and large, you can set the terms you want, particularly the commercial ones. The document should be edited so that it reflects exactly how your business works. Our guidance notes will tell you what you can change safely, and what we don't advise changing.

This template allows you to comply with the Sale of Goods Acts 1908, the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 as amended, and other consumer protection legislation allowing your sellers to sell to businesses or consumers.

Contents of this terms and conditions

This terms and conditions template includes provisions that cover both the relationship between the seller and the buyer and the relationship between your business and the buyer.

It includes terms relating to:

  • Definitions
  • Basis of contract between your business and the buyer
  • Responsibility of the buyer to provide accurate personal information to you
  • The buying procedure
  • Optional guarantee by you
  • Matters of payment
  • Extensive options for re-assurance to customers that you will take care of data
  • Option for consumer rights information
  • Defects and returns
  • Handling buyer’s personal data, credit card and content uploaded or posted
  • Very extensive options as to what a buyer may or may not do on your website.
  • Removal of offensive content
  • Protection of copyright and other intellectual property rights
  • Interruption to service
  • Disclaimers and limitation of liability
  • Miscellaneous legal matters to protect your business

Over 3,000 words of drafting notes to help you.

Draftsman

This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current New Zealand law.

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