How to Write Terms and Conditions

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.


Having properly written terms of use agreement helps to protect your business. If a user takes you to court, making a claim for any reason, the court will use the agreement to check if the claim is valid. You can protect your business by proving the user was aware and agreed to your terms of service.

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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 


Do you think you need terms of use agreement for your website?

When you develop a website, you are required by law to come up with a privacy policy. The privacy policy guides you on collecting personal data from users, storing it, and using it.

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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


  • Preventing abuses: TOS are legally binding. Besides protecting your intellectual property, the legal documents also help prevent users from abusing and misusing your site. The terms and conditions set the rules and the consequences if the user doesn't follow the rules. The terms of use prevent posting inappropriate content, spamming other users, etc


  • 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
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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.


For instance, if you'll be collecting personal information from users, including addresses, names, credit card details, etc., you need a privacy policy. The privacy policy determines how you collect data, how you use it and store it.

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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.

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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.

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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 first paragraph in writing your terms of use should be an acceptance of the terms and conditions clause. It should help the users understand that they agree to your terms and conditions by using your service. Your properly worded terms of the service agreement are useless if the user doesn't accept it.

The acceptance clause should be put in bold, upper case, and large font.

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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."

The bottom line is to put the message across that using the service constitutes the acceptance of the TOS. The acceptance is the basis that makes the terms of use enforceable.

Privacy Policy 


If your website involves collecting personal information from your users, you'll need to prepare a privacy statement.

Privacy policies are a law requirement in the United States, EU, Australia, and Canada. As you create a privacy policy, you should ensure compliance with various privacy laws, including General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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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.


Most developers will refer to their privacy policy as they write the user agreement and then provide a link to the privacy policy.

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.

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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.

Intellectual Property 


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.

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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.

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Payment Terms

 

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.

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Termination Clause


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.

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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.

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Contact Information


As you end your terms of use, you should provide your contact information for users to contact you if they need any clarification.

You can offer a phone number or email address.

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Conclusion 


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.

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