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What are Terms and Conditions?

Terms and conditions (also referred to as terms of use or terms of service) are a form of legal agreement outlining rules and restrictions for customers to follow when using your site.

Does My Online Shop Need Terms and Conditions?

While it’s not legally required for ecommerce websites to have a terms and conditions agreement, adding one will help protect your online business.

As terms and conditions are legally enforceable rules, they allow you to set standards for how users interact with your site. Here are some of the major benefits of including terms and conditions on your ecommerce site:

1. Prevent Site Abuse

By setting guidelines on proper site usage, terms inform users what constitutes acceptable actions when using your site, and the consequences of breaking those rules.

Examples of unacceptable behaviors include spamming, using bots, or posting defamatory content. Having terms and conditions allows you to take action against site abusers by banning them or terminating their accounts.

2. Protect Your Property

As the owner of your online store or shop, you also own your website’s content, logo, page designs, and any other brand-related materials you produce.

Use your terms and conditions to inform users that your properties are protected by copyright and trademark laws, and set the rules for how others can lawfully use your materials.

3. Minimize Disputes

A well-drafted terms and conditions agreement will minimize your chances of legal disputes, as all the rules are clearly laid out for customers to see.

In the event that disputes do arise, your terms and conditions (specifically, a dispute resolution clause) sets out a plan for resolving conflicts with limited difficulty.

What to Include in Terms and Conditions for Online Stores

Although terms and conditions will vary from business to business, standard terms and conditions for ecommerce sites will include these clauses:

Pricing and Payment Terms

Under your pricing and payment clause, address online purchase and pricing-related topics, including transaction processes, shipping and delivery terms, and returns and refunds.

Your terms and conditions should also link to your return and refund policy, so users can easily find the details of your returns process. If you decide not to offer refunds, link to your no refund policy or all sales are final policy instead.

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