Your eCommerce website should have a number of policies that outline your contractual obligations to your customers. One such policy is the “Terms and Conditions” document which governs the contractual relationship between the provider of a service and its user. This document is often also called “Terms of Service” (ToS), “Terms of Use”, “End-User License Agreement”, “General Conditions” or “Legal Notes”.

The Terms and Conditions are a contract in which the owner clarifies the conditions of use of its service, including subjects like copyright, online engagement rules, account user rules and cancellation or refund guidelines.

When creating your own contract, particular emphasis should be given to the limitation of liability clauses (and disclaimers), for example, the case of malfunctions of the app or website.

Your Terms and Conditions help to set the boundaries for your website or app and are fundamental to mount an adequate and proper defence against any claims made against your eCommerce.

Terms of Service set the way in which your product, service or content may be used, in a legally binding way. They are crucial for protecting your content from a copyright perspective as well as for protecting you from potential liabilities.

Having a Terms and Conditions contract accessible to your site users is mandatory for eCommerce sites. The contract not only protects you from potential liabilities, but they regularly contain legally mandated information such as users’ rights, withdrawal or cancellation disclosures.

Your Terms of Service is typically the document that contains:

  • conditions of sale information
  • data and privacy protections information
  • disclosures on methods of payment, shipping, delivery, withdrawals, and cancellation conditions etc. – as commonly required by consumer protection regulations
  • Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) statement
  • business contact information

Terms and conditions need to meet the complex and highly specific scenarios of your eCommerce operations. It is a legally binding contract that is meant to protect your business, so it’s imperative that the document matches your specific business processes, model, and remains up-to-date with the various laws referenced in its contents. In general, terms and conditions are aimed at protecting your business. They give you the opportunity to set the rules (within applicable law) of how your service or product may be used including, but not limited to, copyright conditions, age limits, and the governing law of the contract.

Any eCommerce site that sells goods or services in the EU must provide a terms and conditions contract on the website for the user. The contract should be stamped with its last update date, and if you provide an ongoing service, you must inform users of the date of the update so your users can review them and either agree to the new terms or choose to forgo using your service or product.

While there are many templates available, it is best to craft a contract that answers the legal needs of your eCommerce business, meets with the regulations of the region or regions in which you provide your services or products, and is effective in providing your business with real protections. Investing in having a contract that is written by eCommerce experts and lawyers, while a more costly solution than a template, will help to secure the potential future of your business.