Brand not Blurb
What your Terms & Conditions say about you
Whether you are trading on or offline, your published Terms & Conditions should always be more than an afterthought. They are not just blurb, but a blueprint for a professional, successful trading relationship.
Sure, it’s vitally important to have your T&Cs clearly laid out so there is a clear prior statement that both parties can be seen to have agreed to in case of dispute later down the line. But many companies overlook the fact that far from assuming that your business terms are just the ‘same-old, same-old’, discerning clients – and, yes, those are the ones who are planning on spending the most with you – will examine this document very carefully before actioning a decision to do business with you.
Clarity about the processes involved in purchasing your goods and services is a cornerstone of your credibility as a business and your Terms & Conditions should be regarded as both an important protection for your business AND as a key positive element of your brand strategy which demonstrates that you are professional and transparent in your dealings.
Here are InHouse Legals’ top tips for bigging up your small print and making sure it works for you:
on exactly how you do business, whether it’s online or offline. Walk yourself through your customer’s journey from the very first point of contact, through to your acceptance of their order (technically when the contract is formed), when payment is taken and when you perform your part of it….when you deliver your goods or perform the service.
about how you would handle a request for cancellation, whether you would or should have a refund policy, what monies you could keep for your own admin costs.
what you can deliver. Think about what you are promising by way of guarantees or warranties and, crucially, what you are not promising. This means thinking about all the uses that your customer could put your information or goods to that you simply don’t want to take responsibility for. That could mean prohibiting an individual from reselling your goods or publishing your information and suffering his own loss. If you sell health-related goods, you wouldn’t want to be making promises about cures…
So what does this all mean when it comes to writing your terms and conditions?
Once you’ve really thought through how you do business, you should be able to form the following information in bite sized chunks:
Details of shipping and delivery if you sell goods.
Payment terms if you do not take payment before the order is concluded.
Cancellation policy if you offer a subscription as opposed to one off purchase.
Refund policy on goods particularly where you are selling to consumers.
Limitation or exclusion of liability for potential claims by your customers.
Privacy and data protection information.
Warnings about using your website content in a way that breaches your intellectual property rights………“not for commercial use” and so on.
Any other provisions which are specific to your business.
A clause setting out that you are operating under UK laws.
InHouse Legals provides expert advice and guidance on constructing and publishing a set of professional Terms & Conditions that will put you on clear, firm ground with your trading and professional relationships right from the get-go.