Terms that protect your e-commerce enabled website
Because your terms and conditions are your contract with your client or customer, and because consumers have so much legal protection when shopping online, it is very important to get them right.
If your T&C don’t cover certain matters, it might be not just that you don’t have the same rights in law that you could have, but you could be breaking the law, with the possibility of being fined.
What we include in all these documents
Our terms cover both use of the website as a visitor – an Acceptable Use Policy – and terms of sale relevant to the business model you have.
As with all Net Lawman documents, we use plain English in this document. Particularly for T&C, plain language strengthens the contract because clearly setting out how a business works prevents misunderstandings and makes resolving disputes much easier. Of course, it also makes editing the template easier as well.
We provide extensive guidance notes that explain each paragraph. Despite our efforts to draw documents to fit common business models, there may be paragraphs that you will want to change because your business is different.
We can check your edits as part of our additional review service if you would like us to confirm that they fit.
Protection from misuse
We believe that site security is very important. Having strong security terms in your T&C is not going to stop visitors behaving badly, but it does:
provide a deterrent to any misuse for which you could sue in court
prevent you being blamed for criminal or nuisance activity
reduce the chance of your being the subject of some bad social medium campaign - particularly important if your members can contribute content to your site that you might not moderate in real time
give a message that you are not a “soft touch”
allow you to stay in full control of what happens on your website
By using these provisions, we give you the best possible defence against anyone who claims he has been insulted, injured, or defamed.
We provide disclaimers. They are not always binding because you can disclaim only so far as the law allows. The law is complicated and much depends on the facts of each case. If you overstep the mark, your disclaimer will be void.
We use disclaimers strongly but we use words that we hope will avoid upsetting your clients and customers.
Intellectual property protection and confidentiality
We provide the strongest protection for your IP rights, whether your site is “IP light” or involves complex software and systems.
Your confidential information is defined at length. We help you safeguard all your secrets.
Suitable for sites with international visitors
Our documents are written to cover international use because most websites are likely to attract visitors from across the world.
Every document is drawn under the New Zealand Laws. Much is likely to be enforceable in many other legal jurisdictions as well.
Your business model might include advertising in some way, such as advertising brands in a particular category of products.
Our documents do not regulate the terms you and your advertiser, but we do include general terms intended to protect you from a claim by a visitor in respect of anything he or she might claim against you.
Customer data storage
We make sure your user does not expect you to keep his or her data indefinitely, or at all. We also cover you against any claim that you are in breach of any customer “right” covering that data.
Basis of contract
You cannot impose rules. You can only make a contract.
A contract is only formed if your visitor ticks a box to do so explicitly. No tick, no contract. So, if you have a site that is entirely open to use, or even pages than can be explored before registration, it cannot be fully protected by any T&C document. Despite that principle, there are circumstances in which you could claim that your T&Cs apply, so it is always worth having them.
Price and payment
We give you options on every part of the charging process, from straight unit price to royalty, to payment on running credit account, to commission on sales. Like all other terms, we make it easy for you by limiting options to what is appropriate for a site like yours.
Consumer protection, order cancellation and returns
The law in this area starts with common law dealing with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, price and payment, provision of service, liabilities, returns, retention of title and risk. Then there are acts and regulations on every element of trading.
If you sell to consumers, you must comply with the consumer laws. Every relevant document includes an extensive explanation and instructions as to how to deal. We tell you what you need to know, but give you only what you need in your particular business.
We provide sensible terms. However, the law everywhere provides that if you sell defective goods or services you are obliged to pay for all foreseeable resulting loss and expense. That is the common law, pre-dating any sale of goods act.
The law in these terms and conditions templates
The law in these T&C is largely common law that deals with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, price and payment, delivery, returns, dispute resolution, liabilities and risk. Provided you comply with the law, you can set the commercial terms you like.
Where your end customer is a consumer, you need to comply with the consumer laws. We have included relevant provisions in our templates that enable you to comply with the law and run your business seamlessly.