Do I Need Website Terms and Conditions of Use?

terms and conditions

We all know that one of the dullest pages on a website is the terms and conditions of use.  But what are they and do you really one?

What are website terms and conditions of use?

Website terms and conditions of use are also known as website terms of use or terms of service, and they govern the use of a website by visitors. These are not the same as Terms and conditions of business which are concerned with the e-commerce aspects of selling goods or services online, rather than the way in which a website is used.  However you will also need to have these on your website if you sell online.

Do I really need them?

In some cases the answer is technically no, however it is best practice and we always recommend that anyone with a website has a Terms and Conditions of Use.

Note: It is a legal requirement to have a privacy policy, a cookie policy if you have them, and as already mentioned, you need a Terms and Conditions of Business if you are selling online.

What do the website terms and conditions of use do?

  1. Establish a contractual framework governing the relationship between you and users of the website
  2. Contain your full company details to comply with the Electronic Commerce Regulations that state that any business with an online presence, whether it is actually selling goods or services online or not, must include this information.
  3. Secure and protect your intellectual property by confirming how people may, or may not, use any website content, including text, images, videos and music.
  4. Limit or exclude liability in relation to the use of the website

So what should your Terms and Conditions contain?

Website terms and conditions should generally contain:

  • details of website owner/company including contact details
  • a licence of the copyright and any permitted uses of website content
  • a disclaimer of liability, limiting the scope of legal claims and including content on any linked sites
  • registration requirements for any member areas, including password and other security measures
  • any fees needed to use the website
  • an acceptable use clause prohibiting various forms of undesirable conduct, including user generated content such as posting anything illegal, defamatory or abusive
  • website availability
  • VAT registration details (if applicable)
  • reference to any Privacy or Cookies policies, preferably with links
  • the applicable law and the jurisdiction in which disputes will be decided
  • a clause allowing you to change the terms and conditions

How do I implement website terms of and conditions of use?

Browsewrap agreement – this is where the terms and conditions are available somewhere on your website, usually via a link on your homepage or the footer that appears on every page.  You state that by using the site, users agree to the terms and conditions.

Clickwrap or clickthrough agreement – this is where you take more proactive steps to make the user confirm that they have read, understood and accepted the terms and conditions, such as a pop up box with the terms and conditions in them and a check box and/or ‘I accept’ button at the end.

If you have a registration process, this can be where you get users to agree with the website terms and conditions of use.  You can also do this when users want to gain access to certain functionality.

If you work in a specialist/regulated industry, or are in any doubt, you may want to consult a specialist to help draft your Terms and Conditions of Use.

If you are looking to create or update your website and need some help then get in contact.