It’s important that every website provide a set of website terms and conditions which apply to visitors, users and customers. Your website terms and conditions govern the relationship between the entity operating the website and the above mentioned parties.

It is important that you provide a clear set of website terms and conditions even if you don’t sell products or services through your website.

This ensures that you have both a very clear agreement in place for visitors to the website and limit what visitors to the website are able to do with the information and intellectual property on the website

Furthermore, by providing a set of clear website terms and conditions you will minimise the risk that visitors to your website will take legal action against you or your business as a result of their use of your website.

There are a minimum of 9 key terms you should include in your website terms and conditions.

1.   Visitor’s Agreement to the Website Terms and Conditions

If a visitor to your website does not agree to your website terms and conditions then they should not use your website! Your website terms and conditions should say this so that if someone does not agree to them then they should not continue to use your website.

2.   Details of the Website’s Ownership

Website terms and conditions should specify the URL address of the website and full details of who owns and operates it.

3.   Reference to and Other Relevant Policies

Your relationship with visitors to your website is governed by your website terms and conditions and any other policies of your business that are accessible on your website and which may apply through using your website.  This generally means a Privacy Policy, as websites often collect personal information about visitors to the website (for example by using cookies).

4.   Policy regarding Cookies

If your website uses cookies to monitor visitors’ browsing preferences then personal information may be stored by your business for use by third parties.  If this is the case then visitors to your website should be made aware of this in your website terms and conditions.

5.   Any Limitation Place on your Liability

You do not have information about the personal circumstances of visitors to your website and cannot control how they use the information they view on your website.  You don’t want to be held responsible if they suffer loss as a result of using or relying on any information on your website.  A visitor’s use of your website should be at their own risk.  Your website terms and conditions should say this!  So far as is possible, you must expressly exclude liability and website visitors should indemnify you against liability arising out of their use of your website.

6.   Reference to Third Party Material

If your website contains third party material that is not owned by the owner/operator of your website then such material should be appropriately acknowledged on your website and your website terms and conditions should state that visitors to your website are not permitted to reproduce any such material without the consent of the owner of that material.

If your website contains links to other websites which are not controlled by you then your website terms and conditions should say that those links are provided for convenience only, do not constitute a recommendation or endorsement and visitors to your website acknowledge that they use them at their own risk.

7.   Clear Consequences of Use of the Website

Your website terms and conditions should require visitors to your website to only use your website for lawful purposes and remind visitors to your website that unlawful use of your website could give rise to an offence or claim being made against them.

8.   Ability to Amend the Terms and Conditions

Websites are constantly being updated and the material on them changed.  Your website terms and conditions should highlight this and explain to visitors to your website that the content of your website, including your website terms and conditions, may change without notice and that their continued use of your website will be deemed acceptance of those changes.

9.   A Clear Refund Policy

If you sell goods or services through your website, you will need to ensure that you provide a refund policy to your customers. It is appropriate to provide this in the website terms and conditions.

Conclusion

Having a clear set of website terms and conditions is critical to running a successful website. Make sure you have a set that’s up-to-date and complies with the law. One of our experienced small business attorneys will happily assist you today.

Lachlan McKnight

Next Steps

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