If you sell tiles to individuals or other businesses, you should have a set of terms and conditions in place. Your terms and conditions will govern the relationship between you and your customers. It is an important document to make sure both you and your customers are on the same page. This can help reduce any disputes that may arise, as well as manage any risk you take on by running a tiling business. Below, we unpack what you should include in your terms and conditions if you sell tiles.

Who Are Your Customers?

As a first step, you should consider who your terms and conditions are for. It is useful to consider if you have a different relationship with some customers.  There are two types of customers:

  1. Either individuals looking to purchase tiles for their home or tilers making one-off purchases from you in the same manner as an individual.
  2. Companies that purchase from you on a wholesale basis, where you might want to lock in their business for a set period or provide them with better prices based on how much stock they purchase from you.

If you are servicing different customers in different ways, it can be appropriate to have two sets of terms and conditions. This is because you probably service them on different terms. For example, you may allow your wholesale customers to purchase tiles on 60-day payment terms. However, you may ask your individual customers to pay for their tiles upfront.

What Should You Include in Your Terms and Conditions?

Your terms and conditions lay out the framework for your relationship with your customers. Below, we set out some key clauses your terms and conditions should address.

Goods

Your terms and conditions should make it clear:

  • how customers can order tiles;
  • the type of tiles being purchased; and
  • the quantity of tiles being purchased.

This may be set out on your website order form, in a quote, in a purchase order or verbally agreed between you and your customer. You should also consider whether there are any limitations on ordering. Limitations include whether customers need to order an entire box of tiles at a minimum and whether there is a chance you may not have the right tiles in stock and what will happen if you cannot source them.

Price and Payment

The terms and conditions should specify:

  • what price you are expecting the customer to pay – you may refer to your website, pricing list or quote when setting out what the price is;
  • who is responsible for paying delivery costs, and if it is the customer, what the delivery costs will be;
  • how to make payments; and
  • what the payment terms are, for example, do you take money upfront or do you allow your customers to pay in arrears?

Tip: If you provide your customers with the opportunity to order samples, then you should be clear on whether these are free or if they need to be paid. If your samples are free, but you require the customer to pay for shipping, then this should be obvious to your customers.

Delivery and Collection

Your terms and conditions should specify whether the customer needs to collect the tiles from the showroom or a warehouse, or if you will deliver them to your customer. This will avoid any confusion and manage expectations.

It is essential for you that customers pick up their tiles on time or are available for delivery. Since tiles take up a lot of room, it can be difficult to keep the stock at your premises. Many businesses will choose to insert a clause in their terms and conditions to charge their customers a storage fee if they have to hold the stock for an extended period.

Installation and Laying

Once installing your tiles, it is not easy for you to replace them. It will be a burden if a customer changes their mind about the tiles after they are already installed. For this reason, you should include a clause in your contract asking customers to inspect the tiles for any obvious visual defects before laying them. Another useful clause is that you will install the tiles according to Australian standards or other guidelines. You should provide these guidelines to your customer. The purpose of this is to exclude your liability for any damages caused to the tiles once you have already delivered them.

Liabilities

A key concern for many tile businesses is reducing their liability. Some risks that your terms and conditions should contemplate are:

  • your customer installing the tiles themselves and causing damage to the tiles, or your customer engaging a tiler to install the tiles and the tiler damaging the tiles;
  • your customer ordering the wrong type of tiles and the tiles not being fit for purpose; and
  • your customer providing you with incorrect information or instructions.

Given that for many types of tiles, no two pieces of tiling or stone are the same, it is also useful to include a disclaimer in your terms and conditions. This should acknowledge that polished and honed tiles can exhibit swirls, polish marks and optical hazing, and this is an inherent characteristic of the tile and not a flaw.

How Do I Offer a Warranty Against Defects?

It is common for tile retailers to offer a warranty against defects for their tiles. That is, a promise about the quality of their tiles that goes above and beyond the protections already afforded to consumers under the Australian Consumer Law. In the case of tile retailers, the warranty against defects will be a statement to the effect that you will repair or replace the tiles or otherwise compensate the customer if the tiles are defective.

The Australian Consumer Law prescribes mandatory wording and certain items that your warranty documentation must include for the warranty against defects to be valid. This includes:

  • what your business will do if the goods or services are defective;
  • what your customer must do when a defect arises;
  • your contact information;
  • how long the warranty will apply for;
  • how a customer can claim warranty;
  • who is responsible for expenses in making a warranty claim (i.e. delivery costs); and
  • a statement that the warranty is additional to the consumer’s rights and remedies at law.

Key Takeaways

Whether you sell tiles to individuals or businesses, it is important to have a set of terms and conditions in place to manage your relationship with your end customer. Your terms and conditions should address the goods being purchased, how payment will work, delivery and collection, risks associated with installation and laying and liabilities in general. If you are offering a warranty against defects, it is important that you seek advice on what needs to be included, to make sure that the warranty will be valid under the Australian Consumer Law.

If you need terms and conditions drafted for your business, contact LegalVision’s commercial contracts lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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