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You’ve built up experience and knowledge in your chosen profession and have now decided to create an online course to help and educate other individuals and businesses. Since you’ve spent time developing and curating content for your online course, you are getting close to launch. In order to generate revenue, you have decided to provide access to the course material after clients pay a one-time course fee, or subscribe to ongoing access. The last step before launch is to have terms and conditions prepared. This is so your clients are aware of the terms surrounding their purchase. This article will explore what you will need to include in your Terms and Conditions for an online course and some other things to consider ahead of your launch. 

Why Do I Need Terms and Conditions for My Online Course?

When customers purchase a product, there must be clear guidelines in place for the transaction. If there is a subscription element, the terms of the ongoing direct debit need to be clear to the customer. For example, if they want to cancel the course, how do they do this? Are they able to ask for a refund or part-refund? If your Online Course Terms and Conditions answer these questions, it will reduce client issues. It will also make resolving customer disputes much more manageable. If there is a clear set of Terms and Conditions, the customer will be more comfortable. Therefore, they will develop a sense of trust in your product and more comfortably purchase. 

What Should Be in My Online Course Terms and Conditions?

Signing Up To and Accessing the Online Course

The Terms and Conditions should outline how customers can sign up for your online course, how they will receive access to your online course, and when they will accept the terms. The customer ticking a box often indicates acceptance, or they otherwise may provide an e-signature. 

Term 

You should specify how long the customer will receive the benefit of access to your online course. If you are offering a free trial for your course, you should also specify what will happen once the free trial ends.

Services

It should be clear what services your customers receive access to by subscribing to your online course. For example, you should be clear if there are extra fees incurred to receive additional advertised services like one-on-one video calls. 

Payment and Cancellation

Given that you will likely have customers in various countries, your payment terms should specify which currency the customer must make payment in. If you use a third-party payment processor, such as Stripe or Paypal, you should also note that the customer may be required to accept their respective terms and conditions also. 

You should also specify when the customer will cease to have access to your online course. For example, if the customer does not pay within seven days, you will terminate access to your online course. Similarly, you should specify in what circumstances the customer can cancel.

Intellectual Property

The intellectual property you have developed when writing your course is extremely valuable to your business’ long-term success. Copyright protection is applied automatically in Australia to any original content created by you. However, you should ensure that your Online Course Terms and Conditions specify that you own all intellectual property. This clause should deter any reproduction of the course materials.

Limitations and Disclaimers 

Your online course will be informative and provide guidance to customers. However, you do not want to be responsible for any decisions made by the customer due to your course. Therefore, where there is an advisory or regulatory element to your course, you should include a disclaimer stating it is not specific financial/ legal advice. 

Other Legal Considerations 

Business Structure 

Are you going to be running your business as a sole trader or a company? Many businesses decide to operate as a company to limit their personal liability. If you decide to operate the business as a company, the Online Course Terms and Conditions should be a contract between your company and the customer. 

Privacy Policy

Although you may not be required to comply with the Privacy Act, it is best practice to show your customers that you are handling any information that you are collecting from them responsibly. If you are planning on sharing any information you collect with third parties, particularly for a profit, you must disclose this in your Privacy Policy. 

GDPR 

If you are actively targeting customers in the European Union, you may also be required to comply with the EU’s GDPR privacy legislation. Therefore, you will need to have a Privacy Policy that reflects the privacy obligations mandated by the GDPR. 

Trade Marks

Before you spend lots of time and money on marketing and building your brand, you should lodge a trade mark application in the countries you will be actively marketing in. The trade mark should protect your brand or course’s name and/ or the logo if it is distinctive. This will give you a registered ownership interest in that particular name or logo and allow you to enforce this against competitors who decide to use a similar or same mark as you. 

Key Takeaways

If a customer has access to a clear set of Online Course Terms and Conditions, they will be more comfortable making a purchase and will develop a sense of trust in your product. These terms and conditions should outline how to sign up for the course, its duration, what the service is and how to cancel. It is also essential to have an intellectual property clause and any relevant disclaimers. Finally, you should consider your business structure, your privacy policy, and whether you target consumers in the European Union or need a trade mark whilst drafting your terms and conditions. 

Do you need helping drafting terms and conditions for your business? Contact LegalVision’s commercial contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I have Online Course Terms and Conditions?

Online Course Terms and Conditions will provide both you and your customers with clarity about accessing and paying for your course. This will reduce the amount of customer disputes, and give your clients the confidence to purchase access to your course.

What should be in my Online Course Terms and Conditions?

Your Online Course Terms and Conditions should include terms around acceptance, payment, cancellation, intellectual property, and liabilities. 

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