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All eCommerce websites need Terms and Conditions agreements.
Also known as a Terms of Service agreement, a Terms and Conditions agreement protects you from liability and outlines rules for user behavior. Without a Terms and Conditions webpage, you may face unnecessary court battles, intellectual property theft, and abusive behavior and content.
However, writing a Terms and Conditions agreement for your business is more challenging than it appears. Besides including all of the necessary clauses, you also need to follow other rules, such as making your agreement is easy to read and find.
Read on to learn what Terms and Conditions are, what should be included in Terms and Conditions agreements, and how Enzuzo can help you write a Terms and Conditions agreement for your site or service.
What are Terms and Conditions?
A Terms and Conditions agreement outlines your rules for user behavior. It also tells users what actions you can take to protect your financial and legal rights.
What is the Purpose of a Terms and Conditions Agreement?
The purpose of a Terms and Conditions agreement is to:
- Establish a contract between your site and its users
- Limit your legal and financial risk
If a legal dispute arises, courts will look at your Terms and Conditions to determine which party deserves compensation.
Creating a Terms and Conditions webpage will protect your company from the following:
- Potential legal action: If a user sues your business, showing proof that the user read and agreed to your Terms and Conditions before using your site will greatly strengthen your case.
- Abusive users and content: You can use your Terms and Conditions to establish what constitutes inappropriate behavior on your service. This, in turn, allows you to remove abusive content and users that violates your guidelines.
- Intellectual property theft: You can also use your Terms and Conditions agreement to assert your ownership of your site's content and design, thus preventing copyright infringement.
What's the Difference Between a Terms and Conditions Agreement and an End-User License Agreement (EULA)?
Although Terms and Conditions and end-user license agreements (EULAs) appear similar, they are two distinct documents.
Unlike Terms and Conditions, which provide broad pointers for using a platform or app, EULAs only cover issues related to software licensing, such as:
- How users can use or interact with the software
- What users are licensed (i.e., allowed) to do with the software — for example, they're only allowed to use one copy of the software for their personal, non-commercial use
In contrast, Terms and Conditions cover a broader range of topics, including:
- Use of the website
- Third-party links and content
- The extent of users' rights to use and access your platform
- What constitutes proper and improper user behavior
What Should I Include in the Terms and Conditions?
Terms and Conditions contain numerous guidelines for how you and your users can use your site or service.
Here are some pointers for writing Terms and Conditions for your site or service.
What Information to Add
At a minimum, your Terms and Conditions should contain the following:
Begin with an introduction that lets readers know they're reading and agreeing to your Terms and Conditions. Your introduction should also:
- Define important terms, such as "Company," "Services," and "Terms of Services"
- Tell users that they must agree to your Terms and Conditions if they want to use your services or site
- Tell users that they should not register an account to use your services if they don't or can't agree to your Terms and Conditions
Here's what the introduction of Enzuzo's Terms of Service looks like:
Inform users that you have the ability to revise your Terms and Conditions and your website at any time without notice. You should also inform readers that:
- All of these revisions are effective immediately upon posting
- Users are bound by the updated version of the agreement through continuing to use your service, website, or platform
Establish what users can and can't do while using your service, website, or platform.
Most companies will ban or suspend users for the following:
- Accessing data and content that is not intended for users to view or possess
- Disrupting your ability to monitor the service, site, or platform
- Using spiders, robots, and other automatic processes to monitor, copy, or access the service, website, or platform
- Sending chain letters, spam, or junk mail
- Advocating violence
- Using the platform, site, or service for illegal activities
- Posting discriminatory, threatening, abusive, obscene, or pornographic content
- Bullying other users
- Artificially increasing likes, follows, and other social media markers
- Exposing another user's personal information and credentials
- Altering, stealing, or removing any trademark, copyright, and other intellectual property notices
Here's an example from Enzuzo's sample Terms of Service:
Ownership of the Platform and Content
This section informs users that you own the platform and its content, including all text, logos, images, designs, and mottos.
This section can be short and simple. Just mention that:
- You own the platform and all related content
- By agreeing to your Terms and Conditions, users are agreeing not to sell, modify, rent, loan, share, or distribute your content in any manner
Here's an example from Enzuzo's Terms of Service generator:
Users' Limited Rights to Use and Access Your Platform
Inform users that they have limited rights to use, access, and download your content. Specifically, you should mention that:
- The viewing and downloading of your content only gives them a limited, revocable, non-exclusive, and non-transferable license
- Only the user who views and downloads your content can use your content for their personal use. This means that they aren't allowed to republish, assign, sell, distribute, or create derivative works from your content.
This is where you inform users of your company's rights. You should cover the following:
- Your right to take appropriate legal action when a user has used the site, service, or app to perform illegal activities
- Your right to suspend or terminate users for any reason, including any violation of your terms and services agreement
You can also include a section reminding users that they are solely and entirely responsible for their use of the service and their internet, computer, and data security. This way, you won't be held liable for a cyberattack that you're not responsible for.
Here's an example from Enzuzo's sample Terms of Service:
Third-Party Links and Content
This section informs users that your business isn't responsible for any third-party websites or content that you link or point to. You should also tell users that:
- They are solely responsible for reading third party websites' and parties' policies
- If they choose to access third-party sites and content, they do so at their own risk
A disclaimer clause states that your service, site, or app and its content may potentially harm or disappoint users. For instance, users may suffer losses while relying on your blog's advice or using your products. However, you are not responsible for the damage that may occur.
Every disclaimer clause should include the following phrases and terms to protect you from unwarranted liability:
- That your platform, content, and products are available on an "as is" and "as available" basis
- That users use your platform and products at their own risk
- That you provide your site, content, and any goods, information, or services without any warranties or conditions of any kind
Here's another example from Enzuzo's [Terms of Service generator]:
Companies use this section to limit what users can hold them liable for. Most companies will limit liability for the following:
- Lack of enjoyment because it's prone to change and subjective
- Interruptions and modifications
- Product or website downtime
- Viruses and spyware
- Damage caused by third parties, including cyberattackers
- Inaccuracies and errors
You should also mention:
- Your company's total cumulative liability to anyone for any and all claims related to or arising from your services
- That some or all limitations of liability may not apply to certain jurisdictions. For example, Quebec has consumer protection laws that don't allow exclusions of certain damages.
The following example is from Enzuzo's Terms of Service page:
This is another clause for protecting yourself from any harm, liability, damage, or loss incurred by users.
Be as broad as possible when writing this clause. You should include language to protect your company and all associated subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, employees, suppliers, licensors, and other parties from the following:
Here's what the indemnification clause in Enzuzo's [Terms of Service generator] template looks like:
This clause informs users which federal and state laws govern the Terms and Conditions agreement. Most companies select the law of the country or state they're in. The country from which users are accessing the company's service can also be mentioned.
Here's an example from Enzuzo's [Terms of Service generator]:
This is where you include other terms, such as:
- The headings of the agreement are for organization and reference only and don't affect the interpretation of the agreement
- Your failure to enforce any provision of your Terms and Conditions agreement shall not be deemed a waiver of the provision
- If any part of this agreement is considered unenforceable or invalid, that portion will be considered invalid and the remaining portions will remain in full force and effect
- How you provide notice to users — for example, by sending a message to the email address they gave you during registration.
- Your website's contact information and address
- A reminder that users should report any misuse of your platform
Once more, here's an example from Enzuzo's [Terms of Service generator]:
Writing a Solid Terms and Conditions Agreement
Including the clauses above isn't enough to create a solid Terms and Conditions agreement — you also need to follow certain rules. These include:
Write Clearly and Avoid Legalese
Your Terms and Conditions page needs to be easy to understand. Avoid purple prose and overly complicated legal language. Otherwise, users won't be able to give proper consent to your Terms and Conditions. Without proper user consent, you'll have a much harder time defending yourself in court.
Consider Whether Minors Use Your Services
You also need to consider who uses your site. If your target market includes minors, you must include a "Minors" section that explains how minors' parents can consent to your Terms and Conditions before letting their children use and access your site.
Create Your Own Terms and Conditions Agreement
Never copy your Terms and Conditions from another site.
Although many Terms and Conditions agreements look and feel similar, if you read closely, you will see that each agreement is tailor-made for its site. This means that a plagiarized Terms and Conditions agreement can't protect you and your users.
Additionally, you may get sued for copyright violation if you copy another site's Terms and Conditions. This is especially true if you copy your Terms and Conditions page from a well-known company like YouTube or Google.
Use The Right Branding
Remember that your Terms and Conditions are part of your brand. Accordingly, you should use the same sentence length, font, heading styles, and tone as the rest of your site.
Make It Easy To Find
Last but not least, you need to place your Terms and Conditions on an accessible and mobile-friendly webpage. You should also display prominent links to your Terms and Conditions webpage in the following areas:
- Your app or website footer
- The checkout process
- The signup process
Can I Write My Own or Have a Lawyer Write It?
Yes, you can write your own Terms and Conditions.
Many large companies hire lawyers to write their Terms and Conditions. However, you don't need a lawyer or attorney to create legally enforceable Terms and Conditions. You can just write your own Terms and Conditions from scratch or, better yet, use Terms and Conditions solutions like templates and generators. These methods will not only save you money, but they will also give you a clearer idea of how to run your service. Specifically, you'll get a better understanding of:
- How to manage legal and financial risks
- How you can protect your intellectual property
- How to regulate user behavior and content
- How to manage customer expectations
The Best Ways To Create a Terms and Conditions Agreement
As touched upon above, there are three main ways to create Terms and Conditions for your site:
If you have plenty of time, consider creating a Terms and Conditions agreement from scratch. A DIY approach lets you insert any language or clauses you want into your agreement. It'll also give you an extremely solid idea of how to run your service since you're manually writing every clause.
Terms and Conditions Template
If you don't have that much time and prefer having a set of guidelines to follow, consider using a Terms and Conditions template.
A template has all of the language and sections you need to create a comprehensive Terms and Conditions agreement. However, it doesn't limit you to what's already provided. Feel free to add, remove, and edit existing language and clauses in Word, Adobe Acrobat, or Google Docs so the finished product says what you want it to say.
Terms and Conditions Generator
Finally, if you're running low on energy and time, consider using Enzuzo's free [Terms and Conditions generator]. Unlike templates and DIY solutions, our generator doesn't require you to write anything. You just have to answer questions about the following:
- Your legal business name
- Business mailing address
- Street address, including city, state or province, and your zip/postal code
- Your website's URL
- Your company email address
- Your company phone number
- The governing law for your Terms and Conditions agreement
Our generator will then use your answers to generate a complete Terms and Conditions agreement for your site.
How Enzuzo Can Easily Help You Create a Terms and Conditions
Every business that provides goods or services should have a Terms and Conditions agreement. Without a thorough Terms and Conditions agreement, you can easily expose yourself to unnecessary financial and legal risks.
However, writing a Terms and Conditions agreement can be stressful, especially if you're already up to your nose in paperwork. At a minimum, your company's Terms and Conditions must include the following sections:
- Prohibited activities
- Ownership of the platform and content
- Users' limited rights to use and access your platform
- Our rights
- Third-party links and content
- Limited liability
- Governing jurisdiction
- Other matters
If that sounds like a lot, don't fret. We at Enzuzo have your back. With our free Terms and Conditions generator for eCommerce, you can quickly generate a Terms and Conditions agreement for your site.
All you have to do is:
- Fill out our questionnaire. We'll create a personalized Terms and Conditions template for your company in minutes.
- Add your contact information. Add your contact information like your phone number, legal business name, and email. We'll populate all of these fields for you.
- Publish in minutes. After filling everything in, you'll receive a finalized copy of your agreement. You can then embed it into your site or use our fully hosted solution.
Paige is the growth marketing lead at Enzuzo and host of The Living Lab podcast.