Why Your Business’s Website Must Have Terms And Conditions

Why Your Business’s Website Must Have Terms And Conditions

In a world where intent use is growing exponentially, especially after Covid lockdowns and people having no access to friends and family other than going online, we assume most business owners reading this have a website for their business. if not, we suggest you get one designed as soon as possible, because your competition is certain to have one.

For every business that does have a website, just as there is in the offline world, there are several legal obligations that commercial law dictates that you must adhere to online. Should you fail to do so you are opening yourself up to the risk not just of civil legal action from other parties but also fines and penalties being imposed by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

On the flip side instead of trying to avoid the negatives, your business can gain several positive advantages of having a legally compliant website. By compliant we mean it has the legal pages required by the ACCC and appropriate terms and conditions published within it. By advantages, we mean that visitors are more likely to trust a business that has a compliant website, and it can even help your website rank higher on Google when it sees your legal pages are all in order.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions of a website is an umbrella under which several other aspects of your website’s operation will sit. These will include:

Terms Of Use

These set out how people visiting your website are entitled to use it. Each business sector and each business will operate in different ways so the terms on individual websites can differ greatly.

An example is a website for a veterinary clinic which might include publishing general advice about pet care but is likely to also include a disclaimer that pet owners should seek professional advice about their own pet’s health. Another could be a website that publishes recipes but also includes in its terms of use disclaimers about allergies and specific ingredients.

As you can see,  terms and conditions will cover a vast array of subjects and are important for any business website to ensure it is not liable for the actions taken by anyone visiting their website and acting upon what they may read there.

Terms Of Sale

On websites, especially eCommerce websites, where goods might be sold via a shopping cart system, the terms relating to sales must be published. These will include specifics such as refund conditions, return periods and warranties. With a business selling a range of products that may each have different attributes, it is wise to have comprehensive terms of sale page that covers every eventuality, regardless of which product is sold.

Privacy Policy

In a climate where personal data security is of growing concern, you must include a privacy policy within your website. This will come under your overall terms and conditions but given the importance of your privacy policy, it should be published on a separate page.

Copyrights, Trademarks etc.

You also need to make it clear that unless otherwise authorised by you, anything that exists on your website belongs to your business and as such is protected by any copyrights, trademarks, and intellectual property rights that your business owns.

Limited Liability

One of the core purposes of publishing terms and conditions on your website is to limit your liability. This can go as far as you publishing a section or page within your terms and conditions which outline your limited liability in detail. This should help protect you against anyone trying to claim you were liable for some harm that befell them as a result of your website.

As with these, and any other matter concerning commercial law, always seek professional legal advice from a commercial lawyer before you act.