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Terms and conditions for your business – here’s what you need to know

3rd May 2024

Terms and conditions for your business – here’s what you need to know

Have you ever considered if you need a set of terms and conditions for your business? Corporate and commercial solicitor Jo Convey answers some of the commonly asked questions on the subject.

Do I need a set of terms and conditions for my business?

Yes. Terms and conditions are essential when it comes to protecting your business. They form a legal contract between you and your customers, and they set out the terms on which you will do business.

Having a good set of terms and conditions in place can save you time and energy in dealing with disputes and can reduce the risk of potential disputes arising in the future. Litigation is both stressful and costly. It is vital to understand your business terms and conditions and to make sure that they are clear.

What should my terms and conditions include?

Your terms and conditions should clearly outline what your business is selling, whether that is supplying a product or providing a service.

Payment terms should encompass the date and method of payment. The terms should also document what will happen in the event of late or non-payment.

Cancellation or termination of the contract should also be clearly detailed, particularly where the contract automatically renews or relates to an ongoing service.

Your terms and conditions should limit any liability you, or your business, could potentially have to your customers. Should there be an issue with the supply of goods or the provision of services, you may find yourself unintentionally liable for your customers’ loss of profits which may extend beyond the limit of your own insurance.

Your terms and conditions can also offer you further protection regarding confidentiality and retaining ownership of your intellectual property.

My business is entering into a contract with a customer and the customer has a set of terms and conditions too. Whose terms will apply?

It is important to note that timing is everything. Your customer must agree to your terms and conditions before the contract between you is drawn up.

I have seen a set of terms and conditions on the internet. Can I copy these?

No two businesses are the same and although terms and conditions will often incorporate the same key terms, particular attention needs to be made to how you operate your business. One template does not fit all. For example, if your business is in the UK, copying a US competitor’s terms and conditions is always a bad idea for many reasons including those relating to jurisdiction.

Copying a third party’s terms and conditions can also mean that you are likely to be infringing their copyright and they could bring a claim against you.

I already have a set of terms and conditions. Do I need to do anything else?

Circumstances change and we suggest that you review your terms and conditions every 2 years to ensure that they are protecting you and your business as much as possible. If you have made changes to your business such as introducing a new product or service, it is a good idea to review your existing terms and conditions and make any changes where applicable.

You might have experienced an issue with one of your customers and want to resolve this for future customer disputes.

Myers Solicitors can review your current set of terms and conditions and advise you on any necessary adjustments and provide recommendations for the future.

If you would like any further advice regarding your business’ terms and conditions, please contact the corporate team on 01782 577000. You can also make an enquiry by email: info@myerssolicitors.co.uk.