Does my Website need a Terms & Conditions Page?

Does my website need a terms and conditions page?

What is a “Terms and Conditions Policy”? This is a common question and one many website owners often ask. The next question usually is “Does my site need terms and conditions page?” Look no further. We have the answers and details behind this often-overlooked page.

Does my site need a Terms and Conditions Page? The answer is: Most Likely. Unlike the privacy policy or cookie notice which is legally required, the Terms and Conditions page is not mandatory.  It informs site visitors of what the website is and is not responsible for. The page will help protect you or your business should there ever be a legal problem. Additionally, it should state or jurisdiction for the laws the site operates under. All of these factors make the terms and conditions page a really good idea.

Let’s get into a little more detail for each of the elements typically found on the page as well as where to create the page and where/how to add it to your site.

A “Terms and Conditions” also known as “Terms of Use” or “Terms of Service” is a page on your website. There is usually a link to the page in the footer on every page. The link is should be located near the other legal pages such as the privacy policy or cookie policy.

This page limits and outlines all of the conditions that visitors must agree to if they want to use your website. It also explains and limits your web sites liability. In addition to defining the liability of the site, it accomplishes several additional tasks.

These items include but are not limited to stating the country of operation, establishing copyright, informing the terms can change at any time.

Stating the country or state of operation defines what laws the website operates under. This is important if it has a site that operates worldwide or can be used to limit liability to a single country.

The terms of use also informs visitors the details can change at any time. Should the terms change then the date at the bottom of the page will be updated.

Additionally, it sets the copyright information and gives them the preferred method of contact should they have any questions

Finally, it should include any site-specific considerations.  These considerations can vary widely and if the company is big enough an attorney should be used to craft the causes. 

What should be in the terms and conditions page?

The terms and conditions page is customized for its website and business it represents. The terms and conditions will contain some or all of the following elements.

Limit of Liability

This section is a disclaimer stating that the visitor is using the site “as is” and at “their own risk.” Additionally, you are stating you, the business or website owner,  are not liable for any errors in the content on the site.

The limit of liability section should also include a clause stating you are not responsible for the information added by editors or comments left by visitors. This would pertain to any hateful or offensive content.

Finally, the liability should be limited by any third parties or third-party services that you could run on your site.  Let’s say you run ads on your site and one of these ads is offensive, you are not responsible for it since it was added by a third party ad service. 

Copyright

This section states that you own the information on your website and that others can not use it.

In addition to having “Copyright YEAR MYDOMAIN.COM” or you can use the symbol “© YEAR MYDOMAIN.COM” the terms and conditions page should have a section stating that you have the copyright on your site.

A good place to learn more about Copyright is the page at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright

Country of Governance

This section informs the visitor what County, State, or Government the website falls under.

If you are in the European Union then you would be subject to the GDPR, if you are not in the EU then these laws do not apply. This is why it is important to let visitors know where you are located and what laws you are operating under.

Another example is the new California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). If you are located in California then you are subject to these laws. So if you are not in California then let people know.

Change and Amendments

This section gives you the right to change the terms of use at any time. It allows you to add to the terms and conditions by adding more content to this page.

When changes are made to the terms and conditions visitors will be notified via the change of date at the bottom of the page.

How to Contact

Another good section is how the visitor should contact you with any questions. Typically this can be an email address or link to the site’s contact page.

As a good business practice, this method of contact provided should be reliable so that anyone who does have questions is able to contact the correct person or department at your company

Where to get Terms and Conditions Policy

There are two main ways to get a Terms & Conditions Policy. 

  • Terms and Conditions generator service
  • Attorney

Either of these services work very well. It is MUCH more common for people to use the generator service. It is much more cost-effective, efficient and faster. Plus these 3rd party services. 

The few times when we have seen companies use attorneys or law firms it is when they are very large companies and have in house lawyers. 

One of the most important things is do not copy other websites’ terms and conditions page.  The text in that document is specific to that website and you need a document that is specific to your website.   You would not want to be in court and have to explain to the judge that you ‘borrowed’ the text from another website would you. 

Terms and Conditions Generators

The easiest option is to use a terms and conditions generator. This is a third-party tool to ask you a few questions about your website and your business and then creates a term of use policy specifically for your website.

The cost of one of the services is anywhere from $30-$80 depending on the complexity of your website.

A few Terms & Condition Generators to Check out:

 

Attorney or Law Firm

Another option is to have an attorney create the terms of use. For the most part, we see attorneys being involved in large corporate companies that either have in-house attorneys or have quite a bit of money.

It is these companies that can afford the hourly rate of an attorney to draft the terms and conditions policy. Often times it is these companies that have a web app or unique circumstances that require a highly specialized Terms of Use Page.

Unless you have an attorney or thousands of dollars to spend the terms using the terms and conditions generator is probably your best option. 

Terms of Use Generator Options

 

The terms of the used generator is the easiest and most convenient option we have tried out several different versions and all work relatively well when deciding on which terms of general terms of use generator to go with it is probably best to consider if you need a privacy policy or cookie policy and go with a company that provides all three documents so that way you know where you got all your documents and it makes it easier to maintain them moving forward

Terms of use generators that we like

Conclusion

Additional Resources

Wikipedia

 

Does my website need a terms and conditions page?
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