An e-commerce website is more than a point of sale. It is also a marketing tool, acting as a catalogue of information about your business and what it can offer. Ideally, you want as much traffic as possible to generate sales, but it is also important to ensure that users are doing the right thing. This article outlines the essential legal terms to include in your e-commerce website terms of use to protect your business.

Consent and Variation

Your e-commerce website terms of use should address the user consenting to use your website. Terms seeking consent are commonly presented as browse wrap or click wrap agreements. A browse wrap agreement details that a user agrees to the terms of use by simply browsing the website. A click wrap agreement, on the other hand, requires a user to scroll and read terms and then click “I Agree” or “I Accept” to consent. The way you set out your terms of use may affect your ability to enforce them.

You may also want to vary your terms of use at any given time. If so, you should include this in your terms of use.

Prohibited Conduct

You should prohibit users from doing anything unlawful or anything that might put your business into disrepute. You may also want to prohibit:

  • anything that would breach another person’s privacy;
  • using the site to harass or defame another person;
  • tampering with the site, like uploading viruses or doing anything that may damage or interfere with the site; and
  • posting links to the site in a way that would make others think you are affiliated or in partnership.

Intellectual Property (IP)

Your website includes several IP assets, including your brand name, logos, photos, videos and audio. If you invest time and money in professional photos or marketing campaigns for your website, you should ensure that you own the content and IP, or have a licence to use it. Most importantly, you should prohibit your users from using or reproducing any of your content without your permission. The last thing you want to see is your content on a competitor’s website.

Social media has become embedded in digital marketing. It may, therefore, be useful to allow users to share your content to a degree and generate free marketing. If you do so, ensure you clearly draft procedures within your terms regarding who, where and how others can share your content.

If your website allows users to post content, you should clarify IP and privacy issues. For example, if you wish to use content that your users post for marketing or promotional purposes, your terms of use should state such.

Privacy Policy

A well-written privacy policy should detail the personal information you collect, including how you store, use and distribute it. Your e-commerce website terms of use should note that it operates in conjunction with your privacy policy and link to such.

Third Party Disclaimers

Your e-commerce website may have links to third-party sites. If so, it is important to include a disclaimer excluding your liability from anything a user may encounter on the third party website. Even if you have a paid partnership with a third party, you can only control your website. Therefore, you should limit your liability to your website.

Liability

Your terms of use should outline the limits of your liability. For example, you may want to clarify that the information on your website should only be used for general purposes and that you make no guarantees about the accuracy of the information.

Key Takeaways

An e-commerce website is an invaluable sales and marketing tool for your business. It is important to have well-drafted terms of use to ensure your business is protected.

If you need assistance drafting or reviewing your e-commerce website terms of use, get in touch with LegalVision’s e-commerce lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form using this page.

Justin Ocsan
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