Terms and conditions are rules that your website’s users have to accept and follow in order to use your service. The rules guide the users on what they are allowed to do and what they shouldn't do on your site.
Coming up with terms of service is an essential part of starting a business. If you offer a service to people, they need to agree to your terms and conditions. Terms and conditions help to prevent disputes in the future.
So, how do you write different provisions and clauses in a user agreement?
Preparing to Write a User Agreement
To write a proper user agreement, you need to understand the provisions that apply best to your situation, understand when the terms are useful and where they should be located.
When you understand your situation, you can write the provisions you need for your website.
Determine If You Need the Terms Conditions
On the other hand, the law doesn't require you to develop terms and conditions for your website. However, it is recommended that you should have one to protect your business from legal claims. If your site involves offering products or services to people, you should write terms and conditions for the site.
Some of the reasons you may require terms of service (TOS) include:
- Owning your content: the web content you provide to users is yours, and you should protect it from copying or use without your express permission. The same applies to your design of the website and the logo. Terms of the service agreement will help protect your intellectual property rights from infringement
- Protect your business: having a terms conditions agreement protects your business from legal claims by the user. You can prove to the court that the user was aware and agreed to your terms which makes the claim invalid
- Limiting liability: while you can do your best to ensure your web content is accurate, it is bound to have some errors. The terms and conditions inform users that you are not responsible for such errors in your content
Types of Provisions
After determining that you need a terms and conditions page for your website, you should then assess which provisions you need.
The type of provisions for your site will depend on the type of website and the services you offer. You can then customize your terms and conditions to ensure they fit your situation.
Decide the Location of the Terms
The last step in preparing to write terms and conditions for your site involves deciding where the terms will be located and how users can access them.
It will help a lot if you can put your terms and conditions where they are easily accessible. For instance, you can place them where users will easily access them. For example, you can have the terms and conditions pop up when the user logs in for the first time. It will help a lot if you format your terms with a clear and appealing initial statement to attract website visitors to read it.
Alternatively, you can add a pop-up that requires users to accept the TOS before using a service actively. You can have users click or check off a box to confirm that they have read and accepted the TOS before they are allowed to use the service.
You can also place the terms and conditions as a website footer, user forums, community sections, and FAQ pages.
Your TOS does not help you if the user cannot access them or they are not required to accept them before accessing the service. You should consider that fact before releasing your website or mobile app.
Writing Terms and Conditions
When you start writing, you should ensure your terms and conditions include the following sections. Although it's not mandatory to write them in that order, it is recommended so you can emphasize the vital clauses in your TOS.
Introduction and Acceptance of the Terms
The acceptance clause should be put in bold, upper case, and large font.
Alternatively, you can do it using an "I Agree" check box.
You can also state in your introduction the "Using our services constitutes acceptance of the Terms and Conditions."
If your website involves collecting personal information from your users, you'll need to prepare a privacy statement.
As you write your terms and conditions, you should also mention privacy. This works to reassure users of privacy concerns with the rules of conduct. Mentioning privacy in your terms of service describes how you intend to use user data, and it also provides transparency to users. This helps to limit your liability in case of any claim.
Limitation of Liability
The next step in writing your terms of service includes coming up with disclaimers. You need to come up with at least a general limitation of liability. The provision protects you from legal liability if users sue you for viruses, shutdowns, or failure of the software, app, or website.
It also limits your liability in case of any errors present in your web content. Make sure you consult a legal expert to offer professional legal advice on the best way of protecting your business.
Users will have access to your intellectual property, including trademarks, proprietary algorithms, copyrighted material, etc.
Using your intellectual property without your express permission is infringement. You should have the ability to lay an infringement claim if a user infringes on your intellectual property rights.
You may want to terminate user accounts and prevent them from accessing your service after an infringement.
Third-Party Advertising and Endorsements
If you host any advertisements on your website, you should disclose them in your terms and conditions even if you are not paid for them.
You should also limit your liability that may be connected to such advertisements and endorsements.
You can consider including payment terms as you write your terms and conditions. The payment terms inform users that you require payment information.
The terms of service may also indicate whether you offer annual, monthly, or quarterly payment plans. They also indicate when payment is due and removes the obligation to change your terms and conditions when adjusting prices.
As you write terms and conditions for your service, you may want to make sure you include a termination clause. This helps to enforce the terms and conditions.
It outlines that a violation of the terms and conditions may result in user accounts termination.
Notification of Changes
You will update your terms and conditions as you learn the market. As you write your terms and conditions, you should specify that you reserve the right to make changes to the terms of service, and users will be notified.
You can offer a phone number or email address.
If you didn’t know how to write and terms and conditions include, our detailed guide makes it a straightforward process. Follow the steps to protect your business.