Protecting your online business with water tight terms and conditions

Do you have Terms and conditions on your website? Water tight and well written terms and conditions, go a long way to protect your business legally. They should also be easily accessible to anyone visiting your website and explain how your online business will operate through clauses such as privacy policy and refund policy. Below you will find a brief explanation of the clauses which will make your website terms and conditions as protective as possible: 

 

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is an essential clause to include in your T's & C's. The Australian Privacy Principles provide a guideline of how personal information should be used. Therefore, you should include stipulations on how information is collected, what kind of information is collected, who has access to this information, how it is stored and what it is used for.

 

Cookie Policy

A cookie is a small file that is stored on your computer. It contains information about the website you have visited and allows other websites to tailor your online experience to these personal preferences. For example, when you log on to Facebook, you may see advertisements for the model plane you were just searching for online. This is all due to a cookie! If your website utilises cookies, you should install a cookie policy informing your visitors that cookies are used on your website.

 

Refund Policy

If your online business involves the sale of goods and services, you need to be clear on your refund policy. The refund policy must be in line with the Australian Consumer Law and should not prohibit refunds. The Australian Consumer Law contains different rules depending on the reasons why goods were returned in the first place. In certain circumstances, a consumer is legally entitled to a refund, while in others, they may not be entitled to a refund, exchange or credit note. There are similar rules for the provision of services.

 

Amending your terms and conditions

All good terms and conditions include a clause which allows the website owner or operator to amend the terms and conditions at any time, without notice. You should provide a statement informing visitors that you can amend your terms and conditions without notice.

 

Copyright

A clause relating to copyright ownership is an important part of your terms and conditions. You are automatically protected by copyright if you have created something new. You don’t need to register your creation or pay a fee, you are automatically granted this protection. However, others might believe that you have violated their copyright. A copyright clause can potentially protect you against liability from visitor’s claiming copyright ownership of anything on your website.

In order to protect yourself further, you should acknowledge any unoriginal work on your website. For example, if you use an image created by someone else, you should state that they took the photo or created the image.

There are several other clauses that you can include in your terms and conditions to cover all your possible liabilities. These include the following:

Website ownership

• Visitor’s agreement

• Liability limiting clause

• Third party material

• Consequences of use


Katherine Hawes

Director of Education and Training at Digital Age Lawyers (formerly New Age Legal Solutions)

I am the founder of New Age Legal Solutions and Aquarius Education. This is a different type of law firm as we believe everyone should have access to quality legal services with no hidden costs or expensive 'charging by the minute' for a reassuring chat. Small Business Owner? Find out more about our Small Business Packages to gain access to legal expertise on a routine basis for a fixed affordable rate.


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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

Very helpful information to be aware of. Most of the items are on my radar, but a few are new to me. Thanks for sharing.