Ecommerce Site Terms And Conditions: What You Need To Know

Like most people, you probably seen a terms and conditions page on most of the sites that you visit online.  While not every site needs one, anyone who sells products and services online should include a terms and conditions page or section on their ecommerce website, to protect their legal interests and those of their customers.

What should be included in your terms and conditions? Here are some need-to-know (and include) basics to protect your business:

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General Terms Of Service

Spell out your TOS (terms of service) in plain, easy-to-understand language.  Let your customers know what (and what not) to expect from your site.  Specifically, you should include information about:

The general use of your site, stating that you as an individual, or the company that you represent, are the legal owner of the website and have the authority to use the site for the specific purposes that you outline.  Some TOS policies also include specific wording about what website visitors can and cannot do while on the site.

Accurate information about your business, products, and services. The FTC has clear guidelines and policies in place to prevent online merchants from “misleading” consumers by providing unclear or inaccurate information about pricing, products, and services offered and described on ecommerce websites. You can learn more by visiting the FTC’s website.


Warranty And Liability Disclaimers

Most ecommerce websites include a paragraph that states that the owner of the website makes no express or implied warranties, representations, statements or guaranties about the website.  This is designed to legally protect the site owner and relates directly to the liability disclaimer, which should also be included on every ecommerce site.

Simply put, a liability disclaimer states that the owner of the website is not held liable for any type of direct or indirect damage, loss, personal injury, or any other type of liability that comes as a result of a user accessing a website or any information contained within the website.

Intellectual Property Protection

Intellectual property can include many things. When it comes to ecommerce sites, it typically refers to website content, business names, product names, logos, and designs.

Registering your intellectual property via a copyright or a trademark is the best way to protect it from unauthorized use.  This can be done through the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office.

Whether or not your intellectual property is a registered trademark of your business, you should include a statement that outlines if and how the intellectual property contained on your website can be used by others, if at all.  Inform site visitors that no intellectual property contained on your site can be used by anyone else without written permission.

Keep In Mind

These are just the basics. Your ecommerce site may need to include more or different terms and conditions or terms of service, depending on the types of products and service that you sell. You can learn more about online ecommerce site practices by visiting the Better Business Bureau online.

You should also remember that your TOS or terms and conditions are different from your store policies. Information about returns and exchanges, shipping, ordering, and other store-related information should be included in a separate section on your ecommerce site, such as a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page.