3 Legal documents your online business needs

Designing and launching an online business is an exciting time for any business.

When launching your online business, and connecting customers with suppliers, you will likely be focusing on building out your business model and deciding payment options.

However, it is also important to think about the legal documents that you need to run your business.

Not having the right documents in place could have consequences in the long run if you get into any legal disputes.

Because the internet might seem like the wild west – but don’t be fooled.

The long arm of the law still applies

In this article we explain three key documents that your online business needs:

  1. terms and conditions;
  2. website terms of use; and
  3. privacy policy.

 

1. Online Terms and Conditions

 

Your terms and conditions document is the contract between your business and the people who use your website to arrange transactions.

It sets out the rules for how you trade, what you’ll tolerate and what you’ll give.

This document will be crucial for your business, as it will outline the sale and purchase process between users.

When you operate an online business, you enter into legal relationships with multiple parties.

Therefore, you need specific terms and conditions.

For example, online marketplace Airbnb enters into legal relationships with:

  • the homeowners;
  • property managers; and
  • people who are looking to stay in the properties.

As a marketplace operator, you have options on how you can work with other parties.

You may just wish to provide an introductory service and leave the parties to sort out the payment on their own.

Alternatively, your marketplace may offer everything the parties need for the transaction to occur.

Clearly outlining this role is crucial as you can then also outline your legal responsibility if something goes wrong between the parties.

If you don’t clearly specify this, you might have to pay for damage that was caused by another party.

Specific key terms need to be covered in your business terms and conditions, including:

  • account registration;
  • how customers interact with suppliers;
  • payment processes;
  • return, refund and exchange policies;
  • delivery;
  • cancellation;
  • consumer guarantees;
  • dispute resolution;
  • disclaimers;
  • indemnities; and
  • the limitations of your legal responsibility.

It’s also important to remember that different rules apply for sales to businesses v consumers…

So, you need to ensure you have the right terms and conditions in place.

Check out our guide on doing business with consumers to find out more.

 

2. Website Terms Of Use

 

Website terms of use is a document that is often forgotten within the e-commerce industry.

However, this document is crucial as it outlines how visitors can use and interact with your website.

Not everyone who visits your website will sign up to use your marketplace or become a paying customer.

Nevertheless, you will need a terms of use document to protect critical aspects of your business.

Some of the key clauses included in terms of use are:

  • disclaimers;
  • use of the website;
  • intellectual property protection; and
  • limitations of your legal responsibility.

Therefore, if anyone who visits your website breaches any of these terms, you will be legally safeguarded and can take action against them to protect your business.

You can use our website terms of use template to create your own terms.

 

3. Privacy Policy

 

privacy policy is a document that should set out the way your marketplace collects and uses personal information.

By law, you must have one of these in place on your website.

Users should be able to access your privacy policy from your website easily.

When customers and suppliers interact with each other on your marketplace, they will likely be submitting personal information to you.

When dealing with personal information passed between users, you can show that you take their privacy seriously by having a privacy policy in place.

Your privacy policy should outline:

  • what information you collect;
  • how you collect it; and
  • what you do with it.

You should also make it clear to customers that they can view or correct any data you hold about them.

You’ll find a great website privacy policy template on our Hub

 

Key Takeaways

 

Having your terms and conditions, terms of use and privacy policy in place will be crucial for your online business.

They offer transparency with your customers and can help minimise disputes down the track.

This is because they can protect your business by limiting your legal responsibility if issues arise.

For all things website related check out our website hub

Or if you want to chat about your online legals why not book some time for a chat.

 

***Disclaimer. Please read!!*** 

This article is for general information purposes only and should be used solely as general guidance. It does not and is not intended to represent legal advice or other professional advice.

© 2022 Plugged

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