If you run a business and it has a website, then it’s a good idea to have a Terms and Conditions Agreement (T&C) and display it online.
A Terms and Conditions agreement outlines the terms that visitors must agree to if they want to interact with your website. Essentially, if the visitor continues to use the website after accepting the Terms, they enter into a contract with you.
The purpose of a Terms and Conditions agreement is to prevent misunderstandings between the business owner (you), and the consumer. The agreement helps you:
Essentially, the T&C helps you run your business more effectively and with greater peace of mind.
This agreement forms the basis of an enforceable legal relationship. It tells anyone browsing your website, whether they are a casual visitor or an active client, what their legal responsibilities and rights are.
It also gives you, as the business owner and service provider, authority over certain undesirable things that a consumer may do on your website. However, let’s consider the specific reasons why business owners should always include a Terms and Conditions agreement on their website.
We can’t stress this enough – a T&C isn’t mandatory, but you should treat it like it is. Here’s why.
When you begin to draft a Terms and Conditions agreement, there are certain clauses you should make sure to include. Let’s look at each of these clauses in turn and consider how they are drafted.
It’s very helpful to set out a clause (or clauses) at the very beginning of the agreement explaining what the agreement is, who it applies to, and when the terms are triggered.
Here’s how Instagram does this. It notes that the terms are triggered when a user creates an account on the platform or uses the app, and it clearly states that the terms constitute an agreement between Instagram and the user:
It’s important to clarify who the agreement applies to since it’s legally binding.
YouTube, for example, makes it clear that:
This clause is placed close to the beginning of the agreement and is part of the introductory clauses.
Although it’s illegal to discriminate against people based on protected characteristics such as their gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, it is perfectly reasonable to put certain restrictions on who can use your website or app.
Instagram, for example, prohibits children under the age of 13 from creating accounts. It also bans convicted sex offenders.
Significantly, Instagram also bans users from returning to the site if their profile is deleted or blocked. The clause is simple but effective to include in its terms.
Helpfully, Instagram establishes why the restrictions exist – they want to comply with the law and promote a safe, inclusive platform. We recommend including reasons like these for your own clauses.
Just as you should list examples of unacceptable behavior, you should explain what you’re entitled to do if a user violates the agreement.
Again, YouTube does this very effectively.
The below clause explains that YouTube may or may not remove content that violates its rules, and it may or may not ban the offending user.
This gives YouTube the scope to act quickly to terminate the account without giving the offending user the chance to respond. Clearly, a broadly worded clause like this one benefits you as opposed to the user, and we recommend including a clause of similar wording in your Terms agreement.
The Oath Terms of Service sets out the behavior that it deems unacceptable. It uses broad language such as “Make available any content…that is otherwise objectionable” to avoid restricting content violations to, for example, sexually explicit or vulgar content:
It’s very important to use broad language which permits you to take action on a user’s account without worrying about repercussions.
A website is also broadly governed by the Civil Cod of the Philippines and other Philippine laws.
Terms and Conditions are not strictly required for live websites, but having a set of Terms and Conditions allows the owner/operator to determine the rules for its users. Specifically, a Terms and Conditions document should try to give the user information about what happens in almost any situation of their interaction with the website.