Legal Nodes Team
P.S. There is a nice & useful surprise at the end of this article.
There are plenty of reasons not to read T&Cs:unclear and complex language, a lot of unnecessary information and unknown legal terms, the document’s length and lack of understanding why someone has to read it.
Whereas in reality it’s quite an important document that serves a clear purpose such as:
— protect your company from legal risks
— inform your customers about functionality of the product
— protect your company from copycats
Let’s take a closer look.
Another reason to prepare this document is well-established business practice. If your website connects payment systems, or your mobile application/game is to be submitted to the App Store, Google Play or on Steam— in all of these cases, the platforms will require T&Cs. Otherwise, the publication and the payment systems connection will not be possible.
Usually T&Cs should start with the preamble (introduction). There you need to indicate what products or services are offered to the user and what’s T&Cs are going to cover.
At this point you could also add different disclaimers. For example, for products/service operating in regulated industries such as e-health — you might want to indicate at the very start that the service does not provide any medical advice.
It is recommended to put disclaimers at the beginning of your T&Cs. The rule of thumb is putting most important information at the top of the document. Users rarely read the web pages word by word; instead, they scan them. The further you place important information such as disclaimer, the lesser the chance that the user will read it.
3.2. General Provisions
3.3. Legal model/Services
Describe your product functionality simply, as for a layperson. Namely, start with the beginning of the user journey, registration, order placement and purchase. This section should be written using thestorytelling technique; outlining all details on a step-by-step basis.
Here you should describe the possible payment methods. For example it can be a one-time payment or a subscription model (one-time). You should still fill out this section even if your product is free of charge and indicate what product features are for additional fee, if relevant.
It constitutes one of the most important sections of the T&Cs. In practice, companies frequently point out that they are not liable for the negligence or other torts committed by the contractors and third parties that use their products. Usually companies Highlight that they are not responsible for losses incurred by users using information provided on the website.
Because of its importance, this section should be carefully drafted with the lawyer. Some of the provisions might be held unenforceable if drafted incorrectly or found misleading.
3.6. User Conduct
In this section users agree not to violate your company’s intellectual property rights. Also, not to damage, disable or overburden the website as well as not to make attempts to gain unauthorised access to it. Here you could also specify how user profiles can be blocked or suspended in case of any violations.
3.7. Miscellaneous, resolving disputes and relating documents
Dispute resolution is another important point. It is usually recommended to prescribe the user and the company should attempt to resolve any disputes by negotiations first. In case that is not possible, indicate a court or an arbitration to which the dispute should be referred to.
It is recommended to use the above structure when it comes to drafting your own T&Cs as it is based on the best practices.
However, we understand that drafting from scratch may be a daunting task. So, Legal Nodes has prepared a free template! All you have to do is leave an email and get it delivered straight to your inbox.
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