Importance of the Terms and Conditions of Business
For most businesses there is a time when it is necessary to agree with customers what they are getting in terms of service and goods and what, in return they are liable to pay. In some cases, terms and conditions are relatively obvious for example in a shop where the items are readily available and prices understood but in other cases the terms and conditions can be convoluted and difficult to understand.
Terms and conditions can apply to goods and services equally and also apply to a business to business situation in the same was as they would for a business to customer situation. Legal requirements vary, but the contents of the terms and conditions should essentially state what is expected by and from each party. Increasing complexities with the internet have added to these requirements and all businesses regardless of their size need to consider how they deal with the issues between themselves and their customers.
General Requirements with Terms and Conditions
Although there are some differences depending on the nature of the business, certain factors will always have to be dealt with. For example, costs and product / services are fundamental to these terms and conditions. Payment terms are a central and critical element of all terms and conditions. Are up front payments required? Is it payment on delivery? Where there are services involved it is also necessary to consider how the fees will be calculated and when they should be paid.
Other issues such as how interest will be calculated where there is default or how the contract can be terminated due to non performance from either party. Information relating to the actual product or service being offered and any conditions that are associated with these offering such as colour or weight as applicable should also be contained in the terms and conditions.
Website Based Terms and Conditions
When goods and services are offered online they face additional requirements in terms of what needs to be stated during the purchasing process. With a website it can be difficult to ascertain where exactly the product or service is coming from and who is providing the service including their credentials. Other information such as how the contract can be cancelled should be contained and a clear way of allowing consumers to contact the provider if they wish to change the order or cancel. As this is a distance selling situation there are other requirements that must be met such as offering a cooling off period for purchasers.
Goods must also meet with certain descriptions that are clearly more important when it comes to purchasing over the internet as it is not possible to purchase through the use of samples.
For more information on:
- Provisions of Services Regulations
- Practical Considerations with Terms and Conditions
- The Business Model
- Ongoing Management
- Practical Tips