What should the terms and conditions cover?
Generally, they should cover things such as:
- Provide information about buying the goods (i.e. how to place an order, when does a contract to supply the goods arise);
- Provide information about prices and payment for the goods and detail other things like detail how credit card information will be stored, and who will process credit card transactions (e.g. the owner of the website itself, or payments will be processed via Paypal or through a third party card processor like Stripe);
- Provide a refund policy (i.e. detail when can goods be returned, and how to process the return of goods);
- Include a shipping policy detailing how goods will be shipped;
- A disclaimer of liability;
- Information on how people can use your website, including behaviour which is unacceptable on the website (such as spam and posting offensive comments); and
In relation to selling goods, your website must have extra provisions for when customers purchase things off of your website. The specifics of these provisions will depend on the type of business you have and the kind of goods or services that you are selling. Despite this, and as mentioned above standard terms and conditions for the sale of goods online will include things such as:
- The payment method used to purchase goods or services;
- The process, method and time of delivery; and
- Your policies on refunds, returns and the exchange of goods (it is important that these are compliant with the consumer guarantees contained in the ACL).
What are the legal consequences of these terms and conditions?
In order to avoid any disputes with how your terms and conditions are set out, it is important that they are compliant with the ACL. Importantly, the terms and conditions should be set out clearly, and that they do not unfairly disadvantage the consumer. The terms and conditions should be drafted correctly and thoroughly. They should also set out the rights and obligations of both parties if a dispute ever arises, and how to go about resolving that dispute.
It’s smart to minimise your legal exposure as much as you can. So put in place your website terms and conditions and save yourself future headaches!