Website terms and conditions

We give you a large choice of terms and conditions templates suitable for all types of website, from an online store, to a technical web-based service, to a news site that has an advertising revenue model. Our clear, precise and easy to edit templates:
 
  • reassure visitors that they should trade with you
  • set out the framework of your business model
  • help protect you from unfounded claims
  • include strong intellectual property protection
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  • Topic Overview
Templates

E-commerce terms and conditions template: retailer of goods

This e-commerce terms and conditions template is ideal for most online shops. It complies with the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013 and other consumer protection legislation allowing you to sell products of any sort to businesses or consumers all over the world. Whether you are a start-up specialising in small range of niche products or a well established company selling thousands of product lines, this template can be easily customised to suit your requirements.

Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; seller side

This website terms and conditions template sets out the relationship between your business and sellers who use your website as a marketplace to sell any sort of physical goods to consumer or business buyers. This template regulates your relationship with buyers. It also gives you strong legal protection against malicious use of your website and misuse of your intellectual property.

Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; buyer side

Marketplace websites connect buyers and sellers. This terms and conditions template defines the relationship between your business and buyers (individuals or businesses) who use the market that your website creates. This document provides your business with protection in case a transaction between users of your website fails, and gives you strong legal protection against malicious use of your website and misuse of your intellectual property.

Website terms: simple information site

This website T&C is for a very simple website with no e-commerce and no interaction by a visitor to enter data, upload, download or leave comments. Your site simply offers information: prices, contact information, match results, or any other.

Website terms: basic directory site

This website T&C is for a very simple directory website with no e-commerce and no interaction by a visitor to enter data, upload, download or leave comments. Your site simply offers information.

Website terms and conditions: consultancy business

Standard T&C for a consultancy firm or professional services provider, where the service is ordered through your website but delivered offline. These terms are suitable for any fixed price, defined service, whether bought by consumers (such as preparation of a personal tax return) or by businesses (such as audit or advice). We include a choice of payment terms: single payment or fixed price or by quotation or subscription.

Website terms and conditions template: on-demand IT service provision

These website terms are for a business that provides software as a service (SaaS) or any other technical IT service provided online for a defined time period or with a set outcome or number of uses, after which a customer must order again. The document is suitable for selling to businesses or consumers. Examples of services that could be sold using this template include tests and one-off access to web based software or games.

Website terms & conditions template: membership based services

This T&C template governs the use of websites that provide membership-based services, such as introduction sites, dating sites, fan clubs, enthusiast sites and support networks. Inclusion of terms that comply with European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013 make it suitable for consumer- and business-related sites. It includes strong protection against misuse use of your site and posting of offensive or inappropriate content - terms likely to be important when members can interact with other on the site.

Website T&C template: sports club or other organisation; membership managed online

This T&C template is for use by a club, society or other organisation that takes applications for membership and payment through its website, subject to approval. The document includes terms for online member interaction, such as use of message boards or posting of photos. It can be used by businesses to promote a community around a brand or product, or by unincorporated associations such as social clubs and non-profits.

Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for property

This terms and conditions template is for a website that advertises real property such as residential property, commercial property or holiday lets. You might be an estate agent, or offer a advertising service that connects sellers and buyers or landlords and tenants. These T&C are strong on intellectual property and protection of your site from malicious use.

Website terms and conditions template: hotel

This terms and conditions template has been drawn for the website of a hotel that allows guests to book rooms and other services such as venue hire, business conferencing or meeting facilities, catering, and leisure facilities. Following industry standards, they are written in plain language, with minimal legal jargon, so that your guests, especially those for whom English may not be a native language, can more easily read, understand and comply with them.

Website terms and conditions template: event organiser; tickets sold online

These are website terms and conditions for a event organiser who sells tickets for the events online. The template is suitable for many different types of events, from leisure events such as music festivals, concerts, film viewings and sports competitions, to business events such as seminars and conferences.

Website terms and conditions template: ticketing agency

These are website terms and conditions for a ticketing agency or agent who resells tickets to events organised by a different business or individual. They include strong protection for you if you allow your site visitors to interact with your site - perhaps posting reviews, media or messages. This document provides a simple legal framework with excellent disclaimers.

Website terms and conditions template: software or app download site

These are website T&C for sale by licence of software or app downloaded from the site. The template provides strong protection for you if you allow your site visitors to interact with your site - perhaps posting reviews or messages on a support forum. It provides buyers with a restricted annual, renewable licence and is suitable whether your software is bought by consumers or businesses. The template is suitable for resellers as well as developers.

Website terms and conditions template: recruitment site or job listings site

This website terms and conditions template sets out the relationship between your seekers and recruiters. It provides your business with protection in case a transaction between third parties fails, and gives you strong legal protection against malicious use of your website and misuse of your intellectual property.

Affiliate terms and conditions template

This set of affiliate terms and conditions forms the contract between you and the website marketing partners that you recruit for your in-house network. The T&C template can be easily adapted to suit how your affiliate programme works, whether your arrangement is commission on sales, commission on traffic or on another basis.

Website terms and conditions: licence of copyright (downloaded) product; variable fees according to use

Website TandC to sell by licence a right for a business to use your copyright material for one of three uses: commercial, marketing or editorial, with separate prices according to use. Adaptable for photo images, architect's drawings, graphic images, post code software or other soft product with a visual interface. Provision for sale B2B or B2C.

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Model website terms and conditions that will protect your business

We know from experience that when you create a website, writing the legal information pages sits on the backburner compared to other tasks. However, having website terms and conditions are not only required by law if you sell online, but provide you, as a website owner, with recourse you wouldn't otherwise have without them.

A website terms and conditions document tells your website visitors what their legal responsibilities and legal rights are.

We have over 45 website terms and conditions templates (also known as online terms and conditions, terms of website use, user agreement), each designed to suit a different type of website or business model. The majority of these are free website terms and conditions templates, provided you attribute our copyright in them.

Terms for retailers and service providers

These website terms and conditions templates are for businesses that sell goods or services through their website.

They cover physical goods, services whether delivered online or offline, software and other products that are downloaded, and tickets and bookings.

Terms for blogs, news and information sites

Websites that simply publish information don't require the terms of sale that ecommerce sites need.

If you run a blog, a reference website, an online magazine or newspaper or a community site, your terms should cover ownership of content and rules regulating visitor behaviour.

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Terms for sites that connect buyers and sellers

We call sites that connect buyers and sellers - marketplace websites.

The market may be for goods or services of any type, and may require either side to register as a member before being allowed to trade.

Therefore, these terms include rules for transactions to which your site is not party, and behaviour as a registered buyer or seller.

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Terms for sites that require membership or subscription

Websites that foster a community - whether online or offline - require additional terms relating to behaviour as part of that community.

Whether you operate a sports club that allows members to book facilities and arrange matches online, or a fan site that encourages discussion, we provide you with protection from misbehaviour.

View documents

Why do you need website terms and conditions

Getting your website terms and conditions right might not be your most pressing task when you are building or redeveloping a site, but they are critical to your business.

Your website terms and conditions form the contract between you and your site visitor, and if you sell online, your customers. Without that contract, it is much harder to protect your business if your site visitors behave in a way that is detrimental to it. If you are trading online, particularly if your customers are consumers, without good website terms and conditions, at best you may forfeit your rights in law, and at worst you may break the law and become liable for significant fines.

What you will find in our website terms and conditions templates

All our website terms and conditions templates provide what could be called an Acceptable Use Policy, that sets out what visitors may and may not do when they interact with your site. If visitors also transact, then we also include terms of sale as applicable to the business model you have.

Each document has been drawn to be relevant to the business we intend to protect.

Use of plain English strengthens the document

Consistent use of plain English and minimal “legalese” throughout helps because:

  1. you can set out clearly how your business works and what your site users can expect
  2. it prevents misunderstandings and makes solving disputes easier
  3. it presents a professional image of your business
  4. it helps ensure customers do not feel intimidated by overly formal or legalistic language
  5. it makes a document easy for you to edit

Extensive guidance to help you edit the template

With each website terms and conditions template we include extensive guidance notes that explain each paragraph. Despite our efforts to draw documents relevant to common business models, there will be paragraphs in the document that you will want to add to or edit because your business is different. That is fine, and we can check your edits as part of our additional review service if you would like confirmation that they fit.

Compliance with the law

You are legally required to present your website terms and conditions openly and legibly on your site (for example, by linking clearly to it in your website footer).

But if you ignore these obligations, it is not likely to be your user who complains. It will be some journalist or consumer organisation or local government officer. So those are the people we protect you from. Compliance is not just about complying. It is about being seen to comply.

Site security and restrictions on what your user may post to your website

We take site security very seriously. Having strong security terms in a website terms and conditions document is not going to stop crime, but it does:

  • provide a deterrent to any misuse for which you could sue in court
  • prevent you being blamed for a criminal or nuisance activity
  • reduce the chance of your being the subject of some bad social medium campaign - particularly important if your members can contribute content to your site that you might not moderate in real time
  • present your site in a strong and purposeful way, giving out a message that you are not a “soft touch”
  • assist in protecting you from a civil or criminal offense for which you may otherwise be liable as a result of what someone else posts to your website
  • provide permission for you to remove offensive content and generally stay in full control of what happens on your website

By using these provisions, we give you the best possible defence against anyone who claims he has been insulted, injured, or defamed.

Particular terms which are included where relevant

Disclaimers

We provide disclaimers. They are not always legally binding because you can disclaim only so far as the law allows. The law is complicated and much depends on the facts of each case. If you overstep the mark, your disclaimer will be void.

We use disclaimers strongly but we use words that we hope will avoid upsetting your clients and customers.

Intellectual property protection

We include intellectual property clause that provides the strongest protection for your intellectual property rights, whether your business is “IP light” or involves complex software and systems.

For instance, if you run an informational site and you had website designed exclusively for you that includes graphics a written content, you have to protect your intellectual property rights in such things (such as your website's content) to ensure that whatever is on your website will not be replicated or used elsewhere.

Suitable for sites with international visitors

These website terms and conditions are written to cover international use because most websites are likely to attract visitors from across the world.

These legal documents are drawn under the Irish laws but much is likely to be enforceable in many other legal jurisdictions as well.

Advertising

Your business model might include taking advertising in some way. Our legal documents do not regulate the terms of any advertising. That deal is between you and your advertiser, rather than between you and your visitors as your website terms and conditions are. But we do include general terms intended to protect you from a claim by a site user in respect of anything he or she might claim against you. 

Customer data storage

We make sure your user does not expect you to keep his personal data indefinitely, or at all. We also cover you against any claim that you are in breach of any customer “right” covering his personal data.

Basis of Contract

You cannot impose rules. You can only make a contract.

A contract is only formed if your visitor ticks a box to do so explicitly. No tick, no contract. So, if you have a site that is entirely open to use, or even pages than can be explored before registration, it cannot be fully protected by any website terms and conditions document. Despite that principle, there are circumstances in which you could claim that your terms and conditions apply, so it is always worth having them.

Confidential Information

Your confidential information is defined at length. We help you safeguard all your secrets.

Terms for sale of goods and services

E-commerce provisions

When you choose a sample website terms and conditions template, you will see that we do not repeat the same points about e-commerce in the details of every document. You may safely take it that if your site is likely to be e-commerce enabled, we shall make sure you are covered.

Price and payment

We give you options on every part of the charging process, from straight unit price to royalty, to payment on running credit account, to commission on sales. Like all other terms, we make it easy for you by limiting options to what is appropriate for a site like yours.

Consumer protection, order cancellation and returns

The applicable law in this area starts with common law dealing with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, price and payment, provision of service, liabilities, returns, retention of title and risk. Then there are acts and regulations on every element of trading.

If you sell to consumers, you must comply with the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013.  Every relevant document includes an extensive explanation and instructions as to how to deal. We tell you what you need to know, but give you only what you need in your particular business.

Defects

We provide sensible terms. However, the law everywhere provides that if you sell defective goods or services you are obliged to pay for all foreseeable resulting loss and expense. That is the common law, pre-dating any sale of goods act.

Marketplace provisions

We define a marketplace site as one where the website operator is an intermediary, providing a platform from which someone else sells goods or services to buyers who come to the site.

Because each marketplace website has its own business model, we provide separate legal agreements for terms with buyers and sellers. You should therefore buy a pair of documents: one dealing with terms for your sellers and one dealing with terms for the buyers.

Seller side documents vary far less than buyer side documents so we have not provided exact matches. Only you know which of each side best suits your business model. If you need help choosing, please ask.

We offer several options for sale of services because that word covers such a vast range.

We try to avoid you being an agent in law, but rather a publisher. However, the range of services you offer and the fact that you collect payment may well categorise you as an agent. We know of no court cases on this point.

We do our utmost to insulate you from problems between a seller and a buyer. We push seller obligations onto your sellers and direct a buyer to his or her seller, leaving you as clean as possible.

However, as an intermediary, you still have to comply with the consumer laws. We have covered that of course.

All market place documents cover:

  • a framework of rules as to how a seller places a product or service with you
  • the fact that you do not hold stock
  • e-commerce: prices, your remuneration options, return of goods, taxes
  • your payment options: a commission basis, a transaction fee basis, through advertising, or not at all
  • upload by sellers of their own product pages or product advertisements
  • joint advertising to sellers
  • options for regular sellers (for example, ones that operate their business entirely from your site), and one-off sales

Membership sites

Membership sites vary widely. You can use a membership business model not only to sell goods or services but also to provide information or regulate a free service.

A key point in paid membership sites business models is how and when to obtain payment. You cannot unilaterally renew a contract. However, if you continue a course of action and your customer accepts or acquiesces, he cannot later complain if he has continued to enjoy the services. In reality many Internet contracts are continued from year to year. We cover this thoroughly of course.

The best way to deal with this issue is to provide a warning to a customer or member about four weeks before you take payment, with a copy of the invoice against which payment will be taken. You then take the payment on the due date and send a new message to your customer or member to confirm.

Licensing arrangements

Why a licence might be relevant to what you sell

If you own a car, you can sell it only once. Not so with intellectual property. In law, you “sell” a right to sing your song (or use your legal document template) by way of grant of a licence. Every website terms and conditions’ document drawn for a site which allows use of its intellectual property includes a licence in some form.

So whenever in these website terms and conditions documents, we consider the sale of software or soft-copy goods we are dealing with a licence, not an outright sale.

Limitations and permissions on licences

Permissions concern simple expressions of duration, territory, market, timescale, and so on. Limitations generally cover what your customer is not allowed to do. Examples are: transfer ownership of his licence to someone else; copy text; allow anyone else to use the software. These points are matters for your choice.

A licence is infinitely variable. You can decide on the term, exclusivity, market, transferability, extent and many more variables. Other options include: sub-licensing, removing ID references and prohibited uses.

Every licence in these documents contains appropriate limitations and permissions. The extent and terms of the licence varies from simple to extremely thorough. What we provide in each licence varies according to the requirement of the product. You can delete what you do not need and add anything referable to your particular business.

Licence terms in these documents are:

  • professionally drawn and tough in law
  • useful for both business to business or business to consumer transactions
  • easy for you to adapt if you need to do so

The law in these terms and conditions documents

The law in these website terms and conditions is largely common law that deals with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, price and payment, delivery, returns, dispute resolution, liabilities and risk. Provided you comply with the law, you can set the commercial terms you like.

Our templates allow you to comply with Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980. European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013 and other latest consumer protection legislation allowing your sellers to sell to businesses or consumers.

Where statute law could apply, the T&C have been drawn then applies to specific circumstances, for example, we have included provisions to comply with the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations 2011, but these are only relevant if the type of goods sold is electronic or electrical.

Where statute law could apply, the website terms and conditions template have been drawn then applies to specific circumstances.

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