Writing business terms and conditions is a complex task and you should really seek professional or legal advice before you give it a go. Nevertheless, if you do want to so some of the preliminary drafting yourself, it’s useful to have access to some guidance notes. We’ve therefore put together a set of introductory tips on how to write your own business terms and conditions.

Keep It Simple

Don’t try anything too fancy. Don’t use legal jargon and make your business terms and conditions easy to understand.  Keep them short and simple whilst maintaining a professional tone. You should be writing them in a friendly and positive manner. It’s important to remember that your business terms and conditions can also be seen as a marketing tool for your business.

Avoid Misleading Statements

Don’t over-promise in the terms and conditions because (1) you are bound to them and (2) you could be liable for penalties under Australian consumer law if you write provisions which are false, misleading or deceptive.

Definitions

Near the beginning or at the end of your business terms and conditions, create a section for definition of words – particularly those that might cause confusion.

Price

You will almost certainly need clauses that address price and cost.  Make sure these clauses say what the customer is and isn’t paying for.  Explain under what circumstances price changes might happen, how the customer will be notified.

Refund Policy

It’s important that you include your refund policy in your business terms and conditions, in fact it’s compulsory under Australian Consumer Law.  Your customers need to know if they can get their money back if you don’t deliver as promised. This will give customers the confidence to make the purchase.

Payment Terms

Set out acceptable methods and terms of payment.  The terms should state when full payment is due as well as any actions that will follow from late payments, such as the charging of interest or further costs.

Limitation of Liability

You should also include a general ‘limitation of liability’ clause.  You should consider speaking with a business lawyer or getting online legal advice before drafting this particular provision, as a well drafted limitation of liability clause can save you significant amounts of money down the track.

Quality

A statement about quality is really a way of enhancing your professional image – a broadly-drafted term about your commitment to quality and good customer service is always a good addition to your business terms and conditions.

Dispute Resolution

It can save a great deal of time, money and energy if your terms include a dispute resolution procedure.

Modification

Your business terms and conditions needs to state that you are free to change them at any time and that any such changes are effective immediately, binding on the customer and will be updated on your website.

Privacy

It’s almost a given when you’re writing your terms and conditions that they should refer back to your company or website privacy policy.

Conclusion

Writing business terms and conditions can be a tricky process. For this reason, it’s important you get it right the first time around. For legal advice, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755 and speak with one of experienced business solicitors.

Lachlan McKnight

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