By Alexandra Geelan, Lawyer
For anyone in the business of providing goods and/or services, your terms and conditions are an important document to have, as it ensures that your business runs smoothly. Sure, you can have a look on the internet and quickly copy and paste the document from your competitors’ websites, but this is a rookie move. Without considering a unique set of Terms and Conditions relevant to your business, you might end up with a document that is fraught with legal issues down the track.
Here are four reasons why your business needs a clear-cut set of Terms & Conditions –
Clarity for all parties
Terms & Conditions, at a basic level, set out the rights and obligations which exist in your relationship with your clients or customers. Essentially, the document says what each of you can and can’t do, within reason. As you may bear legal liability for the actions of your clients and customers, it is important to clearly define what is expected of them when using your products or services. To name a few, this can include:
- What the services or products are that you provide;
- How clients and customers can order your goods and/or services;
- How and when payment is to be made;
- Confidentiality and intellectual property rights;
- Any delivery and returns policies, invoicing; and/or
- What to do in the event of a dispute.
Protection for your business
Not having a watertight set of T&Cs in place can mean headaches for you and your business down the track – more often in the form of complaints by clients and customers. While complaints are commonplace in business – some reasonable and some unreasonable – having Terms & Conditions can make processes like dispute resolution easier to navigate. It also can act as somewhat of an insurance policy for your business if you need to quickly and simply enforce your rights.
It can only take one issue to arise for founders to become distracted from the importance of the day-to-day running of your business, and it’s simply just too hard and too risky not to have them in place.
In today’s consumer-driven world, many clients and customers are very aware of their legal rights when dealing with businesses. Having a set of clear and concise Terms & Conditions conveys a degree of professionalism and can increase consumer confidence in your business and your products and services.
It can also show potential investors, partners and other stakeholders that you’re serious and dedicated to the business, and that you have all of your ducks in a row. This can be the difference in succeeding or failing in your business’ next big step.
Compliance with the law
The old copy and paste trick may have worked for many at university, but when it comes to your Terms & Conditions, they simply will not do.
By simply meshing together the best parts you can find of your competitors’ Terms & Conditions and failing to have one drafted by a qualified lawyer instead, you increase the chance that your document will not adhere to current legislation standards, which are continuously changing. Nor will it accurately depict the state of doing business with your business. Similarly, there are likely to be significant gaps or inconsistencies in the stitched-together terms that can cause them to be voided or unenforceable.
Keep in mind that the laws in place to protect both yourself as a business and the consumer can be difficult to navigate without the correct know-how. As such, it is important to consult a legal professional regarding your Terms & Conditions, for the benefit and security of your business in the long term.
If you’re thinking about whether Terms & Conditions are something your business may need, for your own peace of mind it is always best to have them drafted by a lawyer who understands your business. This will ensure that they are accurate, compliant with current legislation, and above all else, legally enforceable when you need them to be.
At Law Squared, we partner with passionate entrepreneurs and businesses who need our technical help and expertise in many areas. We’d love to have a chat with you, so feel free to drop us an email at email@example.com.
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