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Have you recently set up a new online business? When setting up an online business, it is essential to have clear terms and conditions to protect you and your business. Unclear terms and conditions may result in unhappy customers and clients. This article will discuss the key clauses you should consider including in your online business’ terms and conditions.

Description of Your Products or Services

You should clearly outline what products or services you are providing. If you are providing services, you want your clients to understand what is and is not provided and included. You want to ensure their expectations match as closely as possible to the service you will provide.

Price and Payment

You should make all prices clear and state what methods of payment you will accept. If you allow clients to pay through certain payment mechanisms such as Afterpay or Paypal, you may also want to include a link to their terms and conditions on your website.

Cancellation

These terms should stipulate how you will handle clients’ cancellations. This includes:

  • your client’s obligations if they wish to cancel;
  • whether you will charge fees for cancellation; and
  • whether there will be a notice period within which customers can cancel to avoid such fees.

You should also be aware of your obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). You cannot charge an arbitrary amount for cancelling, it needs to relate to the services you are providing or the product you are selling. Further, you may also want to set out what will happen if there are delays on your end.

Delivery

You should set out both you and the client’s obligations to ensure successful delivery. You should set out in your terms and conditions:

  • whether the client will be required to collect the product;
  • the cost of the delivery;
  • the areas which you deliver to;
  • what happens if there are changes to the delivery address;
  • who will bear the risk and responsibility if the delivery fails or something is not delivered.

Having this drafted into your terms ensures that both you and the customer are aware of the delivery process. Additionally, if there is a problem with delivery, both of you will be clear on what you need to do to resolve the issue.

If you are providing services, you may want to include terms about:

  • access to any premises, whether they are yours or the clients’;
  • any conditions of access; and
  • whether you require any information about your clients’ premises.

For example, if you are providing removalist services, you may need to know how many stairs there are to the front door.

Dispute Resolution Process

You will want to ensure you include a provision about your dispute resolution process. You may set out that your clients should address feedback or a written complaint to you if they are unhappy about your product or service to start the dispute resolution process.

Return, Refund and Exchange Policy

You must meet your obligations under the ACL when drafting your return, refund and exchange policy. You cannot avoid your ACL obligations by drafting different terms in your terms and conditions. If you are providing warranties against defects as set out in the ACL, then you must adhere to specific wording requirements.

A warranty against defects is a promise that you will repair, replace or provide necessary compensation if your products or services are defective.

Limitation of Liability

Limiting your liability means limiting your legal responsibility. You can do this by setting out in your terms and conditions that you will not be legally responsible for certain events.

For example, if you are selling products, you may choose to pass the legal responsibility for faulty products onto your manufacturer.

When limiting your liability, you must also adhere to your obligations under the ACL.

Other Things to Consider

You should also consider having your website terms of use prepared. These website terms of use apply to everyone who visits the website, even though they may not be purchasing your products or services. It sets out how people can use your website and addresses any disclaimers relating to your website’s content.

If you are collecting client’s personal information through your website, you should draft a website privacy policy. A website privacy policy states how a business will respect the privacy of the users of its website. It states what information your business will gather from your website visitors and how you will use and keep the information secure.

Key Takeaways

It is important to have your online business terms and conditions clearly drafted from the start so that you are in a position to protect your business when starting up. Key clauses include terms about the:

  • product and service description;
  • price;
  • cancellation;
  • delivery;
  • dispute resolution process;
  • returns, refunds and exchanges policy; and
  • limitation of liability.

If you have any questions or need assistance drafting terms and conditions for your online business, get in touch with LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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