If you’ve been on the internet much, you’ve invariable seen terms and conditions on different sites you use like social media, ecommerce, etc. If you run a website, it’s a fair question to ask: does my website need a terms and conditions page?
While the answer is different for every business and ultimately you’re best off consulting with an attorney (if you think you need to talk to an attorney, you likely need a TOC). Talking to one will help you determine what to include to provide protection for things like how you handle returns, copyright infringements, and of course limiting your liability.
The following are a few concerns that must be considered for your website’s terms of conditions. If you routinely have any of these issues, you likely need a TOC. Here’s what you need to consider:
Do You Handle Returns or Refunds?
If you sell products of any kind, you’ll need to include a section in your TOC that clearly covers how you handle returns and refunds. It should cover things like credit cards, the conditions of a transaction, and any return policies customers must adhere to in order to qualify for refunds, etc.
It’s also good to include a number of disclaimers that state what losses you will not cover or be liable for or offer a return for. Consulting with an experienced attorney who knows ecommerce and your business can help immensely with this.
Do You Work With/Sell to Minors?
There are many special rules that apply when your website caters to an audience under the age of 18 and even more if they are under the age of 13. You can find resources to help you prepare your TOC for minors from the Federal Trade Commission, but it’s best to hire an experience business attorney to help draft this section of your TOC to ensure you are protected.
What Liabilities might you need protection from?
If your site offers any sort of user-created content, chat-rooms, social media interactivity, etc., it’s a very good idea to protect yourself with a section in your TOC that specifically limits the liability you may have in the event something offensive, malicious, or otherwise harmful is posted by a user to your site.
You’ll want to include a disclaimer that makes it clear you aren’t responsible for what people say on your site and that you do not endorse offensive statements, nor can you verify the reliability of any claims made by persons on the site. The wording here is important, so consult an attorney well-versed in litigation.
Additionally, you’ll want to monitor the user-generated content on your site and remove any posts that may cause offense or put your business at liability risk.
Is your website clearly copyrighted?
You might think there is nothing to be copyrighted on your website, but you need to protect your business by making sure you clearly include your copyright on all the information on the website and any trademark you might have.
Still Have Questions?
Building a successful online business is great idea! Protecting yourself with a well-written, thorough, and applicable terms of conditions is even better. If you are just getting started out and have questions, or if you’ve already got a live site and you’d like help better protecting your legal exposures and liabilities, the Law Offices of Yoel Molina are here to help.
Yoel Molina understands how important getting qualified legal advice from a reputable and experienced business attorney who knows the law and can help protect your business is. He has years of experience helping business owners of all kinds of small and medium sized Florida businesses protect their interests and assets both on and offline. So if you have any questions at all concerning your business’s legal needs, our offices are standing by, so give us a call and let us help you today!