Can I copy the terms and conditions from someone else's website?

Terms and conditions listed on a company website are an important legal document, just like terms and conditions given to customers in hard copy or sent by email. There have been cases where start-up businesses have opted against producing their own contracts of business and instead sought to copy and paste competitor’s terms and conditions, in whole or in part.  Doing so could firstly mean a potential copyright infringement, not a great start for a new business!

 

Your terms and conditions of business and online policies will form a contract between a business and their customers and the users of the business website.

 

Terms and conditions of business are a business’s main chance to regulate how they sell or provide their goods or services. As all businesses strive to offer a USP, it stands to reason their terms and conditions should be tailored to how their business operates. It is therefore vital that terms and conditions suit the specific needs of your business (and not the needs of another business). Terms and conditions should be properly considered and drafted to cover the immediate needs of the business with one eye on future growth plans.

 

Protecting your intellectual property

 

Website terms of use and online policies will address who owns the content on your website. This will include the business name and logo displayed on your site, as well as the original content you post and generate such as articles and photos. This all constitutes your intellectual property.

 

Data collection

 

An online data protection policy should be linked to the terms and conditions of business. A data policy will need to cover how a business collects data, for what purposes and how customers have certain rights to object to such use of data.

 

Data collection practices vary greatly based on the type of website the business operates. Advice should be taken when preparing a data policy, particularly with the changes implemented pursuant to the GDPR.

 

Receiving payments

 

Regardless of whether terms and conditions are intended for e-commerce or face to face contracts, the payment terms will need careful consideration. Your terms for charges, deposits, timescales for payment, rights to charge interest will all need to be clearly set out in line with current legislation.   Careful thought will be needed on what warranties might be offered and what cancellation terms may be offered.

 

To ensure that your terms and conditions protect the interests of you and your business, you should seek advice from a commercial solicitor who will be able to tailor this document to meet your specific needs.

 

If you require any guidance with making sure the terms and conditions are correctly written on your website or writing a new document, then our experienced team of Bristol solicitors can help. Please do not hesitate to call us on 0117 9733989 or fill out a contact form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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