If you’re offering goods or services, especially online, having a set of terms and conditions is important. Terms and conditions are the rules and restrictions a company creates for its users or consumers: they function as a basic contract between the service/goods supplier and their users. Examples of terms and conditions are everywhere, from social media to e-commerce hubs.
While terms and conditions are generally not required for businesses, they’re a good way to set expectations, defend against abusive users, prevent intellectual property theft, and avoid legal disputes.
Writing your own set of terms and conditions can be overwhelming, even when you have examples. Here’s an overview of what to include in your terms and conditions.
What should I write in terms and conditions?
Understanding what to write in terms and conditions hinges on understanding how terms and conditions can protect your business. When you create a set of terms and conditions, you’re essentially telling users the rules of using your product or service. For example, social media sites have age limits, provisions against abuse and harassment, who owns the copyright to material uploaded to the site, and more. If a user agrees to these terms, you’ll be protected should a dispute arise.
What you write in your terms and conditions may vary, depending on the circumstances of your industry and business needs. Here are some of the main points to consider:
- Termination clause: A termination clause will inform users what happens if they violate the terms and conditions of your website, app, or service. Most providers add that they can terminate user accounts or access at their sole discretion.
- Governing law: Tell your users which governing law will apply, should a legal dispute arise. Governing law is usually the country and state in which you’re headquartered.
- Limits: Include limits or rules as to how users can access and use your service. This typically includes an agreement not to harass other users or use the service to commit crimes, age and geographic limits, and more as needed.
- Intellectual property clause: Next, include a clause to inform users that your service’s contents, logo, and other proprietary intellectual property belongs to you.
- Content clause: If your service permits users to upload content and make it available to other users, include a content clause. This lets users know that they retain the copyright to the content they create, but by uploading it to your site, they have granted you a license to make that content available to the public or other users. You should also include a DMCA notice clause, explaining that if any uploaded content infringes on someone else’s copyright, you will respond to DMCA takedown notices by removing the content without warning.
- Links to other websites: If your service links to third-party websites, include notice that your service is not responsible for their content or terms and conditions of use. Users are responsible for reviewing and agreeing to third-party terms and conditions on their own.
- Disclaimer: It is important to include a section limiting your business’ legal liability as much as possible. There are a lot of different ways to structure this type of legal disclaimer. For example, you might want to inform your customers that delivery times are out of your business’ control and disclaim any liability associated with delays in shipping. This would protect your company from incurring any liability to users whose products arrive later than expected.
Not all terms and conditions will require all of these clauses, and some will require significantly more detail and additional restrictions. You may choose to have a lawyer review your terms and conditions to ensure that they cover all important contingencies.
What are examples of terms of service?
You can find terms and conditions examples on nearly any service you use. Facebook’s terms and conditions agreement is a comprehensive example of what can and should be used for a social media website. Note that Facebook first defines the services it provides to users in great detail, then describes its expectations of users in plain English. This both protects the company and ensures that users understand what is expected of them.
Other online marketplaces like Ebay or Etsy would have robust terms of service as well. These hubs connect buyers and sellers from around the world. As such, they need to have terms of service in place to ensure that their platform is used in a way that is safe, fair, and consistent for all users.
Sample terms and conditions template
Terms and conditions sample text is easy to find, but there’s no one-size-fits-all template that can meet all your needs. Because services and limitations can vary widely, you’ll need to draft your own custom terms and conditions. Using generic language may expose your company to unnecessary liability.
Create your own custom terms and conditions with SixFifty
SixFifty’s legal tools are designed to save businesses time and money. Instead of looking for generic terms and conditions examples, you can automatically generate your own customized set. It’s the perfect middle ground between hiring a lawyer to draft an agreement from scratch versus using an online template.
Simply answer a few questions about your business and download the generated document. You’ll get a legally enforceable set of terms and conditions without racking up billable hours—or the stress of trying to do it yourself.
Learn more by scheduling a free product demo today!