Whether your online shop is powered by Shopify, another platform, or you’ve set it all up yourself — you’ll need customised terms and conditions for every customer that uses your online store.
Having a set of Online Shop Terms and Conditions is important to clarify to your customers how payments work, refund policies, dispute resolution processes and what happens if something goes wrong.
When Do I Need It?
If you’ve created an online shop where you sell products to customers, it’s a good idea to have these terms and conditions available for when you launch or when your website goes live.
When you’re selling products online to consumers across the country (or even across the globe), you want to make sure the rules are pretty clear around payment, refunds, returns and what happens if a customer is unhappy with their product.
Having these rules set out clearly from the very beginning can save you from lots of complaints, misunderstandings and disputes later down the track.
And you might have an online store where goods are purchased on a subscription basis. There has been a trend of some innovative companies where goods are delivered on a monthly basis, such as wine subscriptions or even books delivered monthly! If this is the case, there are extra protections that need to be in your terms and conditions.
How Do I Use It?
Generally, online stores require customers to agree to their terms and conditions before they purchase a product or register for a user account.
Many online stores require you to click ‘I Agree’ to terms and conditions before being able to register an account online.
If there are any particularly important clauses, disclaimers or risks associated with your online store, it’s a good idea to place them in a prominent position on your website so that your users are unequivocally aware of them.
My Store Is On Shopify. Do I Still Need Online Shop Terms and Conditions?
Yes! While Shopify may have their own terms and conditions, they don’t specifically protect your business and they aren’t customised to your particular needs.
For example, if you sell custom products that are made-to-order for each customer, you may not want to allow returns and refunds as flexibly as other businesses do.
This is why it’s important to make sure that your terms and conditions reflect what goods your business sells, what your customers are entitled to, and other provisions specific to your business and your goods.
An Example Of Using Online Shop Terms and Conditions
Sarah has created an online store selling brightly patterned socks. Sarah is particularly concerned about making sure that her customers agree to her refund policy.
For hygiene reasons, she cannot resell opened packets of socks, so she wants to make sure that customers can only claim a refund if the socks are faulty or not what they ordered.
She includes the refund policy in her Online Shop T&Cs. Before customers can complete their purchase, customers must check a box stating they agree to the eCommerce T&Cs. This ensures everyone’s on the same page and cannot dispute Sarah’s refund policy.
Typical Clauses Found in Online Shop Terms and Conditions
Online Shop Terms and Conditions will typically address the following matters:
- Payment: What is your online payment process? Do you use an online payment provider (e.g. PayPal, Stripe)? What is your refund policy?
- Service Limitations: What level of service can you promise? Do you want to set any limitations on the level or services users can expect? What happens if there is downtime or if the service has bugs? What happens if your software is hacked and user data is lost or stolen?
- Delivery Or Pick Up: How can customers receive the products they buy? Do you have a delivery system? Can they pick it up themselves from a physical store? What happens if delivery is late?
- Disclaimers and Liability Limitations: To what extent would you be liable if something goes wrong or someone suffers loss as a result of using the online store?
- Privacy: When you get customers to register an account, what information will you collect? 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 Your Online Shop Terms and Conditions?
Putting together Online Shop 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 who can assist you with drafting or reviewing Online Shop Terms and Conditions.
Get in contact with one of our consultants for a no-obligation chat on how we can help you put together Online Shop Terms and Conditions and help with any other legal issues your business may have.
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