Business terms and conditions are basically your terms of trade.  In general, a business will work with their lawyer to draft a set of business terms and conditions which are then provided to your customers.

These terms and conditions should be drafted in a way which ensures that they are legally binding. They exist to protect your rights and further your interests.

What are Business Terms and Conditions?

Essentially business terms and conditions are a contractual agreement between your business and your customers.  They enable you to limit your liability and obligations.

They should cover a range of issues such as:

  • Product delivery
  • Payment terms
  • Credit limits and periods
  • Right to charge interests
  • Data protection
  • Title retention
  • Price
  • Defects and damage
  • Refunds
  • Indemnity
  • Warranties
  • Liability
  • Copyright
  • Acceptable Use

Written business terms and conditions should minimise problems and disputes.

If you provide a set of written business terms and conditions to your customers you’re essentially providing certainty as to your obligations when dealing with them. Business terms and conditions are crucial to the smooth operation of your business.

You can also use your business terms and conditions as a branding and marketing tool. If you include a range of customer rights in your terms you’re essentially giving your customers another reason to chose you. The primary purpose of a set of business terms and conditions is to protect you and your business but they can also enhance your professional image .

Business Terms and Conditions can help with the ‘little things’

A well drafted set of terms will help you think about all the details which seem apparently minor, but can save you thousands in the long run, such as intellectual property rights and the passing of title.

When do I issue Business Terms and Conditions?

Business terms and conditions need to be given to each customer prior to each transaction.  Generally they should be provided along with your invoice or quote. Many businesses now provide their terms and conditions to customers via email. It’s not necessary to ensure your customers sign a copy of your terms. By making payment or sending you an email accepting your quote your customers have accepted your offer under law. A contract has been formed.

Business lawyers who can draft your terms and conditions

You should strongly consider getting a contract lawyer or a business lawyer to draft a set of standard terms and conditions which your business can use in all future transactions.  A good contract lawyer will discuss your needs with you and examine the most important risks to your business.  They will then draft you a set of business terms and conditions that can be used for every future customer, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in unpaid invoices!

Lachlan McKnight

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