A reliable system for the delivery of your goods is essential to the success of your business. A business lawyer should be consulted when drafting the ‘Delivery’ clause of your Sales Terms and Conditions to ensure that every aspect of the delivery process has been covered.

What are the important aspects of the ‘Delivery’ clause that need to be covered?

  • Location

Make it known to the buyer exactly what region you can service. Is your service Australia wide? NSW? Metropolitan Sydney? It might even be worth including into this provision the area that you don’t cover i.e. ‘We currently do not deliver to [place]’ so that there is not confusion. It’s a good idea to have ‘delivery information’ either on the home page of the website or somewhere easy to locate so that customers know before reading these terms (some customers don’t read these terms!) that you have a policy relating to delivery. Instruct them to make contact with you if they fall outside the geographical region in which you deliver.

  • Cost

Some businesses are willing to deliver to certain areas free of charge; others are willing to delivery for free depending on how much the customer spends. It simply depends on how your business wishes to attract customers and which delivery policy works best for your particular business model. Make sure that this provision explicitly mentions a ‘delivery fee’ applying if the delivery does not fall into a ‘free of charge’ category. It might seem obvious and you may very well have detailed information about the cost of deliveries on the homepage. Nevertheless, you should seek legal advice from a business lawyer about how to correctly draft this provision to avoid any confusion and legal disputes that may otherwise arise.

  • Timing

Explain to the client how many days it normally takes for the delivery to arrive. For example, ‘We aim to deliver your product within ‘X’ business days of the receipt of your order’. Include after this a line that says ‘unless otherwise noted on the Site’. This accounts for times when there may be holiday periods that interrupt regular business periods. Don’t forget to explain how these delivery periods are actually only estimates based on information from the delivery company. This will ensure that you can explain to the customer why a product is behind schedule on its delivery. Finally, state that you intend to deliver the item to the address provided! It may seem obvious but this is very important, as it establishes a clear agreement about where the item is to be sent to. If it is sent to the wrong address (because the customer entered the wrong details), you probably won’t be liable.

  • Change

This provision is useful when customers wish to change or amend the details of the delivery or wish to communicate to the seller that they won’t be available to receive the delivery on the anticipated date. Have a business lawyer draft into this provision a clear statement explaining any additional delivery fees that may be tacked onto the total amount. This is especially important if there are numerous delivery attempts.

  • Method

You may wish to deliver the items via several different methods. Explain what these may be so that the buyer is aware. A business lawyer should also draft into this provision that someone must sign for the delivery upon arrival. Make sure the terms read ‘You or the authorised representative’ so that the actual purchaser receives the item. Otherwise, you might become liable for allowing the package to be delivered to someone disconnected with the purchase. Explain how, upon delivery, if the buyer or authorised representative is not present, the delivery company will leave a note with details about arranging a new time and date for delivery.

  • Title

Title means ownership. In this provision the business lawyer should be explaining that ‘title’ or ownership wouldn’t pass until the later of the following occurs:

  • Delivery; or
  • The payment has been processed or otherwise received by your business

Ensure that your lawyer drafts a term that gives your business the right to retain ownership and reclaim the products currently in the buyer’s possession, even if they have been delivered or moved from the original place of delivery. Reserve the right to keep or sell the products and put into writing that any risk of damage, loss or deterioration of any products will pass to the buyer upon delivery.

Conclusion

If you’re selling products online and are yet to obtain legal advice about drafting your Sales Terms and Conditions, speak with an experienced business lawyer from LegalVision. Call on 1300 544 755 and get a free quote today.

Lachlan McKnight

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