Whether you take terms and conditions seriously or not, businesses need them. But why?
Simply put, the terms and conditions enshrined in your contract are there to protect you from abuse of service, liability and intellectual property theft and abuse.
Those are pretty good reasons to take terms and conditions seriously. But T&C is a highly customized beast. These provisions need to make sense to your business, its goods and services.
So, let’s examine what some of the most important components of contract terms and conditions are.
For everyone’s protection (including yours)
Every business that deals with a large customer base needs to think about the function of terms and conditions. What are they there to do? Following are some key areas to consider.
· Succinctly and expressly stated, terms and conditions protect you from potential misunderstandings. What’s stated in black and white can’t be misunderstood. T&C supports your contract by eliminating ambiguity.
· Legally binding, terms and conditions prevent anyone using your service from abusing it. In your terms and conditions, you clearly state the guidelines for accessing your service and the consequences for violating those legally binding guidelines.
· Content you provide to users is protected in your terms and conditions. Without them, you become vulnerable to plagiarism and misuse of that content.
· Everyone misses things, so stating in your terms and conditions that you’re not responsible for any errors, omissions or oversights in your content protects you from liability. That’s why it was once a universal practice to include E & OE (errors and omissions excepted) at the bottom of invoices.
Don’t forget to include these
For those of you offering users subscriptions or accounts, your terms and conditions must clearly state grounds for termination and the rules of the road for use of those subscriptions or accounts.
If your terms and conditions are part of an online business, it’s important that your users are given access before establishing a relationship with you, via purchase of your services. Accessibility to this information should be part of the subscription or account set up process.
Encourage users to read your terms and conditions by giving it a title that offers value. Try to avoid boilerplate. Instead, appeal to the user with “friendly” language that’s informative and easy to read.
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