What should be in your marketplace website terms and conditions?

Thinking of setting up the next eBay or Etsy? Respect. Good for you. Have a crack. All I’d say is, make sure you put in place the appropriate website terms and conditions. Now, wanna know what they are? Well, stick around, and I’ll tell you.

Hi, it’s Simon here from the Contract Company. Contracts, that’s what we do all day, every day, and sometimes overnight. Lucky us. Righto.

So you wanna set up the next eBay or the next Etsy? What I recommend you do is, you should have in place some website terms and conditions.

What should be in your Marketplace Website terms and conditions?

“Why,” you say? Well, the website terms and conditions operate as a contract between all parties, assuming you draft them like that.

And so, that then makes it clear that by using the website and/or buying goods or services through the website, that there is a contract that’s formed, and then the terms of the contract are what’s described in the website Ts and indistinct.

So, as an example, and I’m gonna have to look at my cheat sheet here ’cause I can’t remember all of these. But if you are going to set up a marketplace, what you need in there is some terms and conditions that cover everyone.

So, for example, they need to register as a user, and that doesn’t matter if you’re a buyer or a seller, or even. I was gonna say even if you’re just browsing, but you don’t have to sign up if you’re just browsing. But the website terms and conditions should actually still cover you if you’re browsing the website.

But anyway, back on point, the Ts and Cs should cover you being a registered user. The terms and conditions should set out what the website does, in terms of, it’s a marketplace where buyers can buy and sellers can sell.  You should also specify what sort of things you can and can’t sell online.

So, we did some recent terms and conditions for a marketplace for dolls. Of all things, I didn’t realize, but there’s quite a market out there for dolls, good work.

So, we wanted to make it clear that you could only sell dolls and accessories that are related to dolls on that marketplace.  Anything else was forbidden.

You wanna set out in your terms and conditions, user conduct, in terms of what conduct users are obligated to adhere to when they are on the website.

Buyers’ and Sellers’ Terms and Conditions

You should put in there general obligations that apply to the seller.  So if you’re a seller, this is how you list products, these are the rules that apply to you.

If you’re a buyer, you might wanna specify some certain rules that apply to buyers. You should also include in there general things like shipping and refund policies.  Someone buys something, what is the shipping policy?

Someone buys something and they don’t like it, can they return it? If so, how? What are the refund terms and conditions or the return terms and conditions?

Then you wanna have other things in there like a clause that talks about payment, how all that happens. Like whether it’s just between buyer and seller. Or whether there’s any commission payable to the website for running the website. Or if the commission is just payable by sellers to the website, that sort of thing.

Disclaimers

You obviously want your disclaimers.  You obviously want some statutory guarantees and warranties that apply at law. I’m still flipping my cheat sheet, forgive me.

You wanna limit liability as much as you can as between all parties.  But most importantly, if you are the website owner, you wanna make sure you can limit your liability. You want to limit it as far as reasonably possible.  That way, you do not take on any additional risk by setting up this marketplace.

And then you will have things in the terms and conditions that cover like a posting policy. In other words, if buyers or sellers posted feedback or comments about each other.  What are the general obligations of doing that?

I.e, you wanna maintain that the comments have to be tasteful. You cannot swear, that need to be bonafide, all those sorts of things.

You wanna also reserve your rights as the website owner to be able to kick people off your website.  Particularly if they’re not adhering to the terms and conditions in general. Or specifically, posting policies, if they’re not up to speed with that then you can pump them.

You also wanna specify what happens to content that’s posted on the website. So, a buyer buys something, they leave feedback for the seller, or they post some sort of comment.  Who owns the IP in the comment?

Interesting. I suggest you should, and that way, you can then use those comments for any purpose that you want.  Or if you decide not to own them, that’s fine.

But make sure in terms and conditions, you get a broad license to use those comments for your commercial purposes.  So that then you could use those comments to help market the website if that is going to help you.

You also wanna specify what happens with hyperlinks. If someone puts in a hyperlink in a post or a comment, and that takes the person to another website. If that’s infected with Trojans or any sort of bugs, et cetera, you wanna make sure that you guys aren’t responsible for that as the website owner.

And then you want a general course about IP, which I sort of alluded to before. And I think if you had all those things covered off in your website marketplace terms and conditions, you’re gonna be in pretty good shape.

(Related page: Privacy Policy)

Anyway, if you have any questions about that, or in general please feel free to get in touch, Simon@contractcompany.com.au or 1800-355-455, thanks very much.

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