Online marketplaces are a growing business model – think of companies like Uber, Airtasker, AirBnB or Gumtree. If you’re thinking of creating an online marketplace through an app or website, you’re probably wondering how the legal side of things works.

For starters, you’ll want to make sure that your business’ position as a connecting point between providers and users on the platform is made very clear. That’s where your Marketplace Terms and Conditions come to the rescue!

What Are Marketplace Terms & Conditions?

Marketplace T&Cs, sometimes called Marketplace Terms of Use, is a legal document that sets out the terms and conditions by which users can use your online marketplace. It is an important contract that clarifies acceptable uses of your marketplace, details the relationship between suppliers and customers using the marketplace, sets out disclaimers specific to your marketplace, and can help to limit your liability to users if something goes wrong.

When Do I Need It?

If you’ve created an online marketplace, you should ensure you have terms and conditions in place before you go live. If your marketplace is also available to users via a mobile app, desktop installation or otherwise, you should ensure the terms and conditions are accessible to those users too.

How Do I Use It?

You should require your users to agree to your Marketplace Terms and Conditions before they use your marketplace or register a user account. In addition, if there are any particularly important clauses, disclaimers or risks associated with your marketplace, it’s a good idea to place them in a prominent position on your website or app so that your users are unequivocally aware of them.

Usually, you can use a simple check box for users to select to that states “By signing up to the service, I agree to the Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy”.

Marketplace Terms And Conditions Example

Giselle has created a website that connects dog owners to dog walkers in their local area. Users create an account with a brief profile summary and photo. Dog owners can then choose a dog walker they would like to walk their dog at a specified time. The dog walker can accept the job through the marketplace. The users pay and receive payment through the website, and Giselle receives a percentage of the cost. 

Before users can create an account, Giselle requires them to check a box stating that the user agrees to the Marketplace T&Cs. The T&Cs include details about how the marketplace can and cannot be used, limitations and disclaimers about the behaviour of dog owners or dog walkers using the marketplace, the payment and refund policy and a privacy policy detailing how personal information uploaded to the website will be managed.

What’s In Marketplace Terms And Conditions?

Here are the sorts of issues that are typically covered in your Marketplace T&Cs.

  • Acceptable Use – Are there any limitations on the way users are allowed to use your marketplace (for example, to distribute junk mail or spam)?
  • User Content – Will users be able to upload content to your marketplace? If so,
    should the users promise that they have the rights to the content? Are there any restrictions of the sort of content they can upload?
  • Payment – Are payment made through your marketplace? If so, what is the
    payment process? What is your refund policy?
  • Service Limitations – What are the limitations associated with the service? What happens if there is downtime or if the service has bugs? What happens if your website is hacked and user data is lost or stolen?
  • Disclaimers & Liability Limitations – To what extent would you be liable if something goes wrong or someone suffers loss as a result of using the marketplace?
  • Privacy – How do you collect and use users’ personal information? Who can
    the user contact if they have questions or requests in relation to their personal information?

Need Help With Marketplace T&Cs?

Putting together Marketplace Terms and Conditions can seem like a daunting process, as it’s hard to know what to include and how to word it. It’s a good idea to get a lawyer to assist you with this process, as it’s a one-off cost that can save you from disputes and liability in the long run.

At Sprintlaw, we have a team of experienced lawyers can assist you with drafting or reviewing Marketplace T&Cs. Get in contact with one of our consultants for a no-obligation chat on how we can help you put together Marketplace T&Cs and help with any other legal issues your business may have.

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