It has taken you months, but the website is up and running and it has been vetted for defects. The product descriptions and images are ready and the page content is up. In fact, everything is ready on your business’ website, except the terms and conditions page. At this point in the game, you might be thinking about taking a generic terms and conditions page from another website to cover any potential legal problems. However, that’s the wrong approach. Your terms and conditions page has to be personalized for your industry and your business in order to protect your business from any potential lawsuits that may arise from situations that aren’t included in a general terms and conditions page. It also signifies a binding legal agreement between you and your customer. Special provisions appropriate for your business have to be included into it so it will protect the business owner and the customer in case something goes wrong.
To help you create your own personalized terms and conditions website template, here is a short guide.
Step #1 – Evaluate Your Own Business.
Almost all businesses have their own requirements. For example, if you are a shopping website, your terms and conditions page should cover exchange policies, return policies, and even replacement policies in case of damaged goods. It is vital to establish the exact terms and conditions applicable to both parties. Make a list of the products or services provided and the payment terms. The terms and conditions page should also include delivery timelines, guarantees or warrantees offered, premature termination or cancellation of orders, notice periods in case of termination, and the legal jurisdiction in case of conflict. These are basic legal requirements required for all businesses, but if you offer unique products or services, make sure you check other similar websites. Note points that appear valid and add them to your own personalized terms and conditions website template.
Step #2 – Use a Personalized Generator
Once you know what to include in your page, make sure you use a terms and conditions generator. Generators are simple software programs that will ask you a series of questions. Once you have answered these questions, the generator will create a personalized template that is appropriate for your industry. You can then download the terms and conditions and use them on your website. These personalized terms and conditions generators are available as free and paid packages, and they are quite effective in creating good terms and conditions pages, especially for someone who is just getting started. However, a word of caution; some programs may try to sneak in a few words that are contrary to your business policy or they may add legalese that will force you to pay a small amount of every transaction to the generator website. To prevent this from happening, the Houston Chronicle recommends using a paid generator to create your custom terms and conditions pages.
Step #3 – Periodic Review Is a Must
As with any part of your business, it is important to revisit your terms and conditions page yearly to make any changes that may be necessary. Rules and regulations tend to change quickly and it is necessary to evaluate your terms and conditions page every year to make sure that you stay current with the rules and regulations of your industry. When you make these changes, be up front with your customers about them. Make sure that customers know what’s different by setting up pop-up boxes on the home page of your website.
Step #4 – Site Usage details
It is also necessary to be very clear about site usage and content details. Almost all sites now have a pop-up on the first page that requires a digital acceptance before the user can browse further. However, apart from this, a generalized disclaimer at the beginning of the terms and conditions page that warns users that browsing constitutes legal acceptance of site policies can be a great catchall.
The Bottom Line
When starting a new online enterprise, you have enough to worry about. Make the process easier for yourself by getting the help you need. A company that is well-versed in setting up terms and conditions pages can prove invaluable. If you have the money to be able to hire a company to take care of the initial set up of your business’ terms and conditions page as well as changing it as necessary, it is one expense that you may want to consider. They will not only create your custom terms and conditions page, but will continue to review it to ensure that all the information is accurate and up-to-date with the latest state and federal regulations to protect you and your customers.