How to Draft a Terms and Conditions Policy for Your Website


Before we begin to consider how a terms and condition policy for a website is being drafted, we would start by first considering the meaning. Terms and conditions are binding contracts or agreements between a user and the owner of the online business. Website terms and conditions are important to the progress and security of an online business as they stipulate rules as to how is user is expected to make use of a site. They are also known as terms of service and terms of use.  Terms and conditions agreement set out exactly what would be offered to the customer and what you will expect from them in return for the service you have given them. Simply put, terms and conditions make your website more professional. 
 

Terms and conditions provide all the key information needed by the customer before they use your service or even make a purchase. It also allows a user or client make withdrawals and cancel services, disable their user accounts, manage customer expectations and set rules for user behavior.

Steps to Drafting a Website's Terms and Conditions Agreement

Terms and conditions are legally enforceable and although, you can’t control whether or not a customer, user or client actually reads your terms and condition agreement in full; one can actually rely on it whenever a legal dispute arises between you and a client. However, like any other contract, the terms and conditions agreement must contain a few things to make it enforceable. It must be lawful, clear, and agreed to. There is however no preset as to how long your terms and conditions must be, it all depends on your business need and the type of business. Every terms and condition should have the following;

1. A Brief Introduction

This introduction which helps users know that they are reading a terms and condition agreement and its where owners of this website emphasize that users need to adhere to the terms of those agreement, if they would want to gain access to use your services.

2. Effective Date

This which is the date the website terms and conditions came into existence and if the agreement is being changed, the date must be updated to effect these changes.

3. Jurisdiction/ Governing Law

One has to be clear on which country or state laws presides over the agreement. Usually, it is the country or state where the business is being registered. 

4. A Link to Your Privacy Policy

 if any data is to be collected from the user, there must be a link to your privacy policy reassuring the that either their information would or wouldn’t be disclosed to a third party without their consent. It is important that you incorporate your privacy policy link somewhere in the terms and condition agreement. If they consent to your terms and conditions agreements, they automatically consent to the privacy agreement also. 

5. Contact Details

 There should be at least 2 ways through which your customers can contact you, if they have any questions about the terms and conditions. These means of contact which can either be via email, online chat service, telephone number, postal address or fax number.

6. Limitation of Liability and Warranty Disclaimers

This which involves limiting what your customers can hold you liable for. One of which may include, being held for viruses, spyware, and device damages, also being held for inaccuracies and errors; as well as damages caused by third parties. Also, you should not make promises you can’t keep and so, you need a disclaimer warranting that you are not liable for:

  • User enjoyment
  • Product or website downtime
  • Ensuring that goods or services chosen by a customer are fit for a specific purpose


7. Rules of Conduct

Setting out rules of conduct for the usage of your website to make sure that customers can only use your goods and services for the intended purpose and rules on access to these services, and also what happens to one that breaches those terms stated out. 

8. User Restriction

This which entails being clear on what users can’t do on your website. One must bear in mind that it must be as broad as possible to kick against and quickly take actions against conduct that are illegal, violent, or otherwise harmful. 

9. Right to Terminate Account

In your website's terms and conditions document, the right to delete someone’s account if they go against the terms and conditions must also be provided for. This  must be made to avoid any dispute arising from your website users in the case of a cancellation or closure of user accounts on your website. 


Terms & Conditions agreement, also known as Terms of Use or Terms of Service, acts as a contract between you and your users so you can control liability, manage use of your website or service, protect your intellectual property, and enforce your rules of conduct.

While having a Terms & Conditions agreement it's not legally required in any jurisdiction, it can make managing your website much easier.

A Terms and Conditions generator makes it easy to create a Terms and Conditions agreement for your website. Just follow these steps:


At Step 1, select the Website option.

Answer some questions about your website.

Answer some questions about your business

Enter the email address where you'd like the T&C delivered and click "Generate."

You'll be able to instantly access and download the Terms & Conditions agreement.


1. Note that before you write the terms & condition, you need to:-

  • Understand Your Reasons
  • Set Your Ground Rules.
  • Know where Will You Display Your Terms and Conditions Agreement.
  • Know Terms & Conditions in Plain Language.


2. In Writing Your Terms & Conditions Agreement, note the following:-

2.1. Introduction and Acceptance of the Agreement.

2.2. Privacy Practices.

2.3. Limitation of Liability and Other Disclaimers.

2.4 Intellectual property rights.




Here below is an explanation of the above.


Understand Your Reasons:-


A Terms & Conditions agreement prevents users from abusing your service (or other users of your service), limits liability, and establishes any ownership in your trademarks, content, copyrights, and other intellectual property.


If you do not address these reasons at a minimum, you will limit your legal enforcement powers and claims against users.


As you write your Terms & Conditions agreement, keep these reasons in mind. It will help you avoid adding unnecessary material and help keep you focused.


Set Your Ground Rules:-


You likely have rules for the usage of your website. For example, if you run a photo sharing site, you may prohibit sexually explicit material from being uploaded and shared on your site.


There may be age limits on who uses your website and those need to be enforceable, too. Some websites require payment of subscription fees before access to content or features is allowed.


Make a list of any limits and rules regarding your website . You will work these into your Terms & Conditions agreement when you draft it.


Where Will You Display Your Terms and Conditions Agreement:-


Once you finish your Terms & Conditions, you need to post it in a conspicuous location.


On websites, the Terms & Conditions should be accessible through links. Many companies post links to the Terms & Conditions throughout their website pages, usually in the footer.


If there is a sign-up form, acceptance of the Terms & Conditions should be mandatory before setting up an account.


Aside from a footer and sign-up form, links to the Terms & Conditions may also be posted in:


- FAQ pages

- Throughout user forums or community sections


Your Terms & Conditions agreement does not help you if the user cannot find the agreement or is not required to accept the agreement and its terms. Consider this carefully before you release your website.


Terms & Conditions in Plain Language:


The Terms & Conditions agreement is considered a dense document that's difficult to navigate and understand. In some cases, that's true.


However, it's becoming more common to find the Terms & Conditions written in plain language or with summary notes provided along with it. This works in your favour. Vague documents can be thrown out in court and construed against you.



Introduction and acceptance of agreement:-


However, this is not enough on its own. You still need acceptance terms in your Terms & Conditions agreement.


Basically, the idea you need to get across here is that use of your services means acceptance of the terms outlined in your agreement. This is the basis that makes your Terms & Conditions enforceable.


Privacy Practices:-


Unless you don't collect any personal information, you'll likely draft a separate Privacy Policy.


Privacy Policies are required throughout the world.


You'll also mention privacy in your Terms & Conditions agreement. This works as reassurance to users that their privacy rights are being respected.


All you need to do is note that you have a Privacy Policy, and provide a link to it.


You're more likely to maintain consistency with your company's Privacy Policy which also helps with enforcing your agreements.


Limitation of Liability and other Disclaimers:-


You want at least a general limitation of liability clause in your Terms & Conditions agreement. Without it, your users could pursue damages for shutdowns, viruses, and failure of your website.


Even if you don't anticipate any issues, it's often what you never expected that gets your company in legal trouble.


Generally, you want it to be clear to your users that you will not be responsible for damages arising from the use of your service. You'll also want to inform users that their use of your website may come with risk, even if that possibility is small.

If your service website) is specialized with a good chance that users may misinterpret your intentions, specific disclaimers are also helpful.


lntellectual Property Rights:-

Any user with access to your site will also have access to your intellectual property. This includes trademarks, copyrighted material, proprietary algorithms, and other elements that make your website uniquely yours.

Using your intellectual property without permission or a license is infringement and is actionable under law. If a user does this, you want the ability to pursue an infringement claim but also terminate that user's access to your services.

The intellectual property section in a Terms & Conditions covers this situation.

If your website does not have a long international reach or your company owns little in the way of intellectual property, you can usually get away with a standard statement like this one:

"The Client acknowledges that the content of the information is subject to copyright and accordingly the client shall ensure that the information is used solely for the client's research and may not be copied, reproduced, rebroadcast or commercially exploited in all or any part".


Conclusion

Every website rendering good products and services should include a terms and condition agreement. This legally enforceable document which protects a business and give them control over how their website is being used and also who uses their website.


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