Online businesses need to have proper terms and conditions in place to maintain compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s rules and regulations concerning eCommerce activities, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The rules include the use of emails, Internet advertising and consumer privacy issues. The terms and conditions for online businesses must be the first legal document that is put in place on a website. This is because these terms protect both business owners and consumers alike.
Clear and concise terms and conditions should cover a variety of issues. They need to cover the goods or services offered on a website and much more. Including all of the crucial information in terms that are both legally correct and easily understood reduces the chance of a legal dispute arising or a case being lost in court. The courts favor a properly written set of terms and conditions, the Electronic Frontier Foundation tells online business owners. With this in mind, business owners need to ensure that they are including the following information in their terms and conditions. Including these subjects can not only help prevent negative situations, but they can help obtain and retain customers.
Protecting Intellectual Properties
Guiding Customers to the Terms and Conditions
One of the biggest issues that seems to come up in disputes regarding online terms and conditions is their accessibility. Business owners need to properly direct their customers to their terms and conditions as they are going through the sales process, according to Out-Law. By doing this, a business is protecting itself from possible accusations of hiding information from consumers. Doing this also sends a message to shoppers that the business operates with transparency. This instills a positive feeling in shoppers, telling them that they are buying from a reputable business. This feeling can lead customers to return to a site to do business in the future.
A properly written set of terms and conditions that can be formulated using a policy generator template offered by Shopify, should include certain important issues that could be easily overlooked. Most business owners think of the more common terms that are related directly to the business, such as price, payment terms and costs. What many of them do not think about is how to limit and disclaim liability. A well-worded set of terms and conditions should address all forms of liability that could be associated with a business owner and the specific type of goods and services being offered. These more well-rounded versions offer protection in multiple ways.
Providing Better Customer Service
When a properly written set of terms and conditions is consistently in place it helps provide better customer service. When customers can have access to clearly written and thorough statements, unpleasant surprises are eliminated. Well-informed consumers can move forward with confidence in the business they are purchasing from.
Customers who know their rights make their buying decisions based on this information. This leads business owners to deal with fewer disputes in terms of complaints, refunds and insurance claims. Issues that can arise from mismatched expectations, from time of delivery to terms of service, can also be eliminated by having a well-informed customer.
Having matching expectations for these issues is better for business not just because it reduces time lost dealing with disputes. It also protects against losing money through refunds or losing customers who become disgruntled. Having happier customers can also increase the good reputation of a business, which can also help in the generation of new business.
Knowing What to Delegate out
Small business owners often have to wear many hats and do many tasks on their own. Many small business owners can do multiple jobs that would ordinarily be done by several staff members at a larger company. This can lead to them becoming uneasy with delegating tasks out to others. Smart owners need to realize when they need to hand a job off to an expert for the greater good of the business.
The construction and placement of terms and conditions on a website is an issue that should be delegated to experts. Terms and conditions are so crucial to the protection and success of a business that they must be done right. Seeking out the help of seasoned experts is an excellent way to ensure this process is done right the first time.
Image Credit: Shutter Stock