Each and every legitimate and trustworthy online business shall pay particular attention to its legal compliance. The reason is that strong businesses understand the need to observe and adhere to the regulations that concern their online presence. In that sense, having a robust set of Terms and Conditions is a key document that each website shall implement.
What are Terms and Conditions?
What are the benefits of having a comprehensive set of T&Cs?
- Website legal compliance
As with every business, website owners should be aware and should adhere to the local and international legal frameworks, which impose a variety of obligations. For example, EU law requires online stores to inform their users about a number of important issues, such as their identity, the right to return certain goods within 14 days, the right to reject the contract etc. Another instance are the US laws on children protection, whereby children under certain age should not be allowed to enter websites on their own.
The place to address all these important matters is the Terms and Conditions. They should outline all the rights of the users imposed by law. In that sense, the T&Cs act as a shield against improper use and avoid disputes borne out of uncertainty.
- Protect your Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property is the biggest asset for the majority of online businesses. As such, business owners need to make sure that their IP is sufficiently protected. A proper set of Terms and Conditions will always address the Intellectual Property of the website, and will determine which content belongs to the users and which to the website. It shall also outline the accepted use of certain parts of the website, for example for educational or other purposes.
- Limitation of Liability
Another important consideration for website owners is to limit their liability to the maximum extent possible. Improper use or even accepted use of a website may sometimes lead to unwanted results. For example, a fitness website which provides training programmes shall always make sure that any injury caused by following its advice will not result in a lawsuit. Such businesses shall inform their users in advance that their content is only a recommendation and that customers shall consult their physician or a qualified trainer when working out.
Hence, the Terms and Conditions of each website shall limit its liability, thereby avoiding costly legal battles and fines from regulators. Each robust set of T&Cs shall place a big emphasis on limiting the liability of the business.
- Termination of the website’s usage and access
It is a common occurrence in today’s digital world for certain website users to abuse and try to abuse the platform or its users. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as the verbal or physical abuse on social platforms or the use of a website for commercial uses when this is prohibited. In such cases, website owners should have a mechanism in place to limit or prohibit the use of their website to such users.
- Dispute resolution
In the unlikely event that a dispute arises between an online business and a user, business owners should be prepared in advance and have certainty that the conflict will be resolved in a way they want. Here comes in place the dispute resolution clause, contained in the Terms and Conditions. A proper set of Terms shall determine the country where a dispute shall be decided and the desired method. For instance, a good idea is to include the condition of an out of court action, such as negotiation, mediation or arbitration, as these are usually faster and cheaper options. Anyway, if the parties decide to go to court, business owners should make sure that they have established in advance the competent court that will look into the dispute, in order to save on costs and time. All these issues shall be properly addressed in the T&Cs.
This article outlines the basic advantages of having a proper set of Terms and Conditions on a website. These will always increase the credibility and transparency of the online business and will protect the website owners from a variety of possible problems.
We at Lege Nova are specialised in drafting custom Terms and Conditions for websites and mobile apps, which ensure the maximum amount of protection of the business. If you would like to discuss your online legal needs and your website legal compliance, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].