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Why Terms of Use matter for your business

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2023 | Business Law & Litigation

A well-developed website can set your business on the path to success. This is especially true if you sell goods or services online. But if you’re planning on building a website for your business, then you need to be careful in limiting your liability. If you don’t, then you could end up facing a variety of litigation.

Therefore, as you embark on building your website, you should try to address the following:

  • That you aren’t responsible for errors and omissions found on the website
  • That you don’t endorse or otherwise take accountability for content posted by third parties or other users
  • That users of your website should not rely on your website’s content for specific purposes, which is especially applicable if you’re a business offering professional services

The best way to protect your business in this regard is to create Terms of Use that appear on your website in a visible fashion. It may also be helpful to force website visitors to click through an agreement to those terms to ensure that they’ve been read, understood and agreed to.

These moves, in essence, create a contractual relationship between you and each website’s user, which can provide you a lot of protection if you end up getting sued

What terms do you need?

It really depends on your circumstances. While you might find some boilerplate language on the Internet that’ll give you a modicum of protection, it’s not going to be as strong as a custom-tailored Terms of Use agreement.

However, in addition to the above-mentioned issues, you’ll also want your terms to do each of the following:

  • Indicate that your intellectual property, including logos, slogans, names and content can’t be recreated, reproduced, or used without your express permission
  • Provide notice that your content is protected by copyright and is owned by you and/or your business
  • Clearly layout any return or exchange policies that your business will utilize
  • Unequivocally disclaim liability for any lost, damaged or delayed goods

Again, you’ll want to make sure that these terms are specific to your business, which is why you’ll need an individualized agreement that suits your needs.

Crafting your terms

As you set out to craft the Terms of Use that you need to protect your business, you should keep a few things in mind. These include:

  • Clarity and readability, ensuring that your average user will actually understand the Terms of Use
  • Coverage, as you’ll want to provide yourself with the widest breadth of protection possible
  • Statutory compliance, since there may be laws and regulations that apply to your business, and you’ll want to position yourself in a way that demonstrates full compliance

It’s also a good idea to provide consumers with a way to contact you and specify how contact resolution will occur. This will ensure that you’ve given your customers as much information as possible about how to address any potential issues that may arise.

Do you need legal assistance with your business needs?

Building an effective and safe website may be key to your business, but it’s just one aspect of your business operations. As you move forward, you’re likely going to face a number of legal challenges, any of which could threaten your business, its viability, and your financial security.