Terms and Conditions

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.

Sample Terms And Conditions Template

Unlike a Privacy Policy, you aren’t legally required to have a Terms and Conditions agreement. However, there are many reasons why you should draft one and display it on your website. We’ll discuss those reasons and show you a few of the most important clauses your Terms and Conditions should include.

Note that you’ll sometimes see this agreement referred to as a Terms of Use, User Agreement or Terms of Service agreement. These terms are interchangeable and refer to the same type of agreement.

The purpose of a Terms and Conditions agreement is to prevent misunderstandings between the business owner (you), and the consumer. The agreement helps you:

  • Protect your intellectual property
  • Avoid website abuse
  • Define the limits of your legal obligations to the consumer unlike a Privacy Policy, you aren’t legally required to have a Terms and Conditions agreement. However, there are many reasons why you should draft one and display it on your website. We’ll discuss those reasons and show you a few of the most important clauses your Terms and Conditions should include.

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.

The Benefits of Having a Terms and Conditions Agreement

We can’t stress this enough – a T&C isn’t mandatory, but you should treat it like it is. Here’s why.

  • You can decide which country’s laws apply to govern the agreement. This is otherwise known as choosing the jurisdiction. You will generally choose the country where the website, or business, is based.
  • You can remove or delete abusive accounts. For example, say you run a social media platform and explain that people who post inflammatory, abusive, or explicit content will be blocked from the service. Someone posts abusive content. You can block their account without worry because you can rely on your Terms and Conditions agreement.
  • You can limit your responsibility. You can include disclaimer clauses in your agreement that say you’re not liable for third-party content, and you don’t endorse it. You can also say that you’re not responsible for mistakes and typos, or content uploaded by users that other users may find offensive.

Creating a Terms and Conditions Agreement

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.

Introduction Clauses

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:

  • Users must agree to the terms before using the service
  • Anyone who uses their service is assumed to agree to the terms
  • Some people are legally prohibited from entering into the agreement

This clause is placed close to the beginning of the agreement and is part of the introductory clauses.

Who Can Use Your Platform

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.

Unacceptable Behavior Clause

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.

Termination Clause

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.

  • Users must agree to the terms before using the service
  • Anyone who uses their service is assumed to agree to the terms
  • Some people are legally prohibited from entering into the agreement