- Website Terms – These terms sets out the rules for all visitors using your website. It helps to protect your website. It includes what users can do, what is prohibited and includes a disclaimer to limit your liability when they access your website.
- Sales/Business Terms and Conditions – This document is between you and each purchaser/customer/client. It addresses consumer law requirements and helps to protect your business.
Legal Documents for Websites
If you offer goods or services, Sales/Business Terms and Conditions are required by law. For your Terms and Conditions, the 5 key aspects are:
- Description of products or services, and how these will be delivered, for clarity and certainty;
- Payment terms, including the right to charge interest and use a debt collector and/or a solicitor to enforce payment;
- The mandatory consumer guarantees and your refund policy;
- Dispute resolution to help you resolve disputes and avoid the cost and uncertainty of going to court; and
- Disclaimers and limitations on your liability, to protect your interests.
- All three legal documents must be written specifically for the business or operation. Whilst it is tempting to copy from another website, this is a breach of copyright, and could you up in hot water if you face a breach of privacy law or Australian consumer law.
- You should seek input from relevant areas of your entity when drafting these documents.
- For large or complex entities, consider whether you need to have more than one policy (for different parts of your operation or business, or different functions or activities)
Business Terms and Conditions
There are 3 key types of online business. The Terms and Conditions they require are as follows:
Service Business – Client Agreement
If your business sells services then you need a Client Agreement. Your Client Agreement sets out the services that you provide, how you will provide them, and your and your client’s obligations. For example, if you design websites, your client must provide website copy and images in a timely manner. If disputes arise, you can refer customers to your Client Agreement to help you resolve disputes. This saves money and time, to focus on your business.
Shop/Ecommerce – Sales Terms and Conditions
Sales Terms and Conditions set out the information that you need to provide, and that customers seek, when they buy products from you. This includes delivery, refund and exchange policy, limiting liability and compliance with the Australian Consumer Law. Well-drafted Sales Terms and Conditions can make the difference between clients not paying or raising disputes, compared to you resolving a problem quickly and simply.
Marketplace – Marketplace Terms and Conditions
There are an increasing number of innovative websites for people to meet online to buy and sell products and services. Marketplaces need comprehensive terms and conditions that address the issues set out above, and additional issues including users providing correct information to the site, user content, intellectual property, the legal relationships between the parties, your obligations, and users upholding their obligations.
Frequently Asked Questions about Website Legal Documents
Q: What is a website disclaimer?
A: A website disclaimer is different to the general website terms and conditions as a disclaimer relates only to legal liability. Moreover, you should write a website disclaimer which specifies the limitations on your liability when problems arise.
Q: What is an Acceptable Use Policy?
A: This policy contains a set of rules applied by a business that restricts the ways in which users can use a network, website or system. It generally contains information security policies.
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