What are terms and conditions?
Terms and conditions is a legal agreement typically prepared by an online services provider for its end user/client. The terms & conditions basically sets out the entire tone on how the client can use the service providers platform. Since these T&C are for online platforms it is usually not open for negotiations. The user must provide their consent and agree to all the terms before they can proceed with using the platform.
Further, the terms and conditions for online businesses are also recognized with different names across the globe in varied industries. These include:
- Terms of Service;
- Rules and Regulations;
- User Rights and Responsibilities;
- Online Code of Conduct; and
- Terms of Engagement.
Need for Terms of Service by different types of online business
In the digital realm, e-commerce stores were the fundamental type of trade in the early 2000s. The terms of service for these stores are useful in:
- Clearly outlining the terms for the sale transaction with the buyer, including the payment modes and shipping details, etc;
- Defining the conditions for the return and refund related requests;
- Providing disclaimer and warranties on the products helps in building trust in the digital space; and
Read more about the Importance of Terms and Conditions for E-commerce Website
Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, PlayStation Now, etc. fall under the category of subscription services. Now, most of us subscribe to such services, so it’s important to know how these terms & conditions are useful for subscription service providers:
- Defines the subscription model, billing frequency, and renewal/auto-renewal terms, etc.;
- Provides the process and fees for cancellation of subscription;
- Gives the subscriber an idea of the inclusions and exclusions of the subscription model.
Key Note: It is important for service providers to keep their t&c policy simple and easy to understand for its audience.
Software as a Service Provider
- It defines the entire scope of software, its inclusions, limitations and restrictions on use, etc.;
- Prescribes the terms of payment, billing cycles, and pricing;
- Describes the IPR and extent of the licensed rights in a precise manner;
- Clarifies the data privacy and security measures; and
- Specifies the process and terms of account termination.
Creating content online is now a primary source of living for many bloggers, YouTube channels, etc. Having an effective terms and conditions is useful for them in:
- Defining the manner of using their content;
- Protecting copyrights through disclaimer; and
- Predefining rules for UGC (user generated content), and other interactions.
Point to Consider: Keep your Terms and Conditions in such a manner that it is easily accessible to the users
Online Marketplace Platforms
- Defining the roles and responsibilities of the sellers and buyers;
- Setting up the guidelines for listing; and
- Explaining the payment terms, dispute resolution methods between vendor and buyer.
Are you an online business that collects personal data?
Social Media Platforms
Billions of people use social media platforms. Hence, it is very important to have a stringent terms of service for all social media users which:
- Sets the user code of conduct on platform;
- Addresses to data privacy issues, especially in third party advertising;
- IP policy for usage and distribution of content; and
- Provide guidelines for grievance reporting and redressal.
Online Consultancy and Education
Nowadays, many professionals provide online services, for example LegalWiz.in. Even educational services are being provided online through platforms like Byju’s. Each of these platforms that are service providers need a terms and conditions that:
- Define the scope of all services and guarantees etc. about the results;
- Address data security measures; and
- Clarify payment terms and cancellation policy.
Key Inclusions of Terms and Conditions
It is clear that the inclusions of terms and conditions depend entirely on the type of business and your specific requirements. However, here are the basic clauses that will make any terms of service effective:
- Acceptance terms;
- User Obligations;
- Payment, refund and cancellation terms;
- Dispute Resolution;
- Intellectual Property Rights;
- Grievance Redressal contact;
- Liabilities and Disclaimer; and
- Notices on changes of terms.