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Do your online terms and conditions need a reboot?

20 December 2016

If you are selling goods online, it is very important that your terms and conditions of sale are up-to-date and legislation compliant.

What is so important about my terms and conditions?

Your terms and conditions govern the relationship between you and your customers. Certain matters will be regulated by legislation (especially if your customers are consumers), but your terms and conditions provide an excellent opportunity to set out exactly how the relationship will work and what will happen if something goes wrong, for example, if you cannot deliver the goods because of an event outside of your control.

OK, so what type of things will my terms and conditions cover?

Payment Terms

It is vital to specify how much is payable and by whom; how payment will be made and what will happen if payment isn’t forthcoming.

Liability:

There are certain matters for which you cannot exclude liability for example fraudulent misrepresentation. In areas not covered by specific legislation it is important to set out the extent (or limit) of your liability.

Data Protection

You need to set out clearly what personal data will be collected and how it will be used. You may think that you do not collect or use personal data, but consider whether you use email addresses to market to customers. If you do, then this will constitute processing personal data and you need to obtain your customer’s consent.

But I already have well-drafted terms and conditions on my website…

It is not enough to simply have your terms and conditions on your website; you must make sure that they have been read and understood by your customer before a sale is made. If your terms are hidden away in small print, it would be very difficult to argue that your customers had sufficient notice of them and without notice the contract between you and the customer will not be governed by your terms and conditions (no matter how well-drafted they may be).

Your terms and conditions should be in a prominent place on your website; ideally they should be brought to your customer’s attention immediately before they make a purchase – even better, if your customer has to check a box to confirm their acceptance of your terms and conditions.

If you need a review or redraft of your online terms of sale then please contact Eve Lakin on 01270 619689 or eve.lakin@poolealcock.co.uk

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