All About Website Terms and Conditions
Here are a few reasons why it is important for businesses to upload the terms and conditions on its website. It may be noted that the reasons mentioned below are not exhaustive however will give you a fair picture of its significance.
Protecting the Business – Terms and Conditions are crucial to protecting your business as they create a binding agreement between you and your customers/users/visitors, the terms of which can be legally enforced in court.
Setting Rules and Managing Expectations – It creates certainty and clarity by allowing your business to set user rules and expectations. Customers and business partners should know what to expect and understand what their rights and responsibilities are. This in turn makes them less likely to go back on their word and creates a mutual understanding between you and your end users.
Creating Clear Payment Terms – Your Terms and Conditions advises users when payment is required, what methods of payment are acceptable and what happens if they fail to pay or pay late.
Preventive Measure against Cyber Abuse – Along with general guidelines, businesses usually include a necessary section to inform users of what happens if they do not follow the rules and are abusing your website/mobile app in any way such as spamming other users, using abusive language, posting defamatory content etc. For such cases, you can include a clause in the Terms and Conditions to inform users that harmful language won’t be tolerated, as well as spamming other users (depending on the function of your website: via public or private messages). All of these can result in having those users who are found abusing your website banned.
Protecting your Intellectual Property Rights – T&C’s establishes your proprietary rights over website content, brand name, logo and design. As a website owner, you’re the owner of your brand name, logo, content uploaded on the website, the design of the website and so on. In the Terms and Conditions, you inform users that you are the owner of all such content and it is protected by applicable copyright laws. The protection this section provides is in two folds. Firstly, it works as a pre-emptive measure against your business name, logo, design or content from being copied and used by competitors since you have a better chance of avoiding infringement of your proprietary rights if you have an agreement listing what your rights are as compared to a website which is silent about its rights. Secondly, in case where your content is copied by another website/business you have a strong case of suing them and shutting them down based on the digital existence of this agreement.
Informs Users about the Procedure and Grounds for Termination and/or Blockage from the Website – The agreement usually has a termination clause which informs users that abusive accounts will be terminated and banned from using the service. The termination clause is generally aimed at websites that have a registration section as you can disable or ban the abusive users based on the activity of their accounts however, it also is feasible for other websites too by simply stating grounds for termination hence, in turn protecting your website from any future legal claims from terminated or banned users.
Limits your Liabilities – This agreement commonly includes a warranty disclaimer that tries to limit the website owner’s liability in cases where errors are found in the content presented on the website. This effectively notifies users that the owner can’t be held responsible for any errors in the content presented or for the information provided being accurate, complete, or suitable for any purpose. This is very important as it protects website owners (especially E commerce businesses) from those users bringing wrongful and exploitive cases against the website due to faulty or dated content on the website.
Needful Disclaimers – The agreement also has a section protecting the business from indirect liabilities which could otherwise be attached to the business such as logistic partner liability, employee liability, liability for indirect loss and damage and so on.
Establishes Jurisdiction of the Business -Usually, the governing law clause of a Terms and Conditions agreement refers to the jurisdiction that applies to the terms presented in the agreement which gives tremendous clarity to your business. If the jurisdiction is not clearly stated anyone form any part of the world can bring a claim against your website in their country and accordingly to their laws however, when jurisdiction is specifically stated it limits the scope of such claims to your operative jurisdiction and laws alone.
THE BIG QUESTION
DOWNSIDE OF NOT HAVING TERMS ON YOUR WEBSITE