How to Write Terms and Conditions

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This article was written by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick has worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received a JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved after it receives enough positive comments. This article received 15 testimonials and 88% of voted readers found it useful, earning it Reader Approved status. This article has been viewed 587,421 times.

Terms and conditions are a set of rules and statements that potential users of your service will need to follow and agree to if they want to use the service. Setting terms and conditions is an important aspect of doing business and whenever you provide a service to other people or organizations, you should require them to agree to your terms and conditions. To write good terms and conditions, you’ll need to understand when they are useful, what types of terms will apply to your situation, where they should be located, and how they will be accessed. Once you have a good understanding of your personal situation, you will begin to write the various terms and clauses that will make up your terms and conditions. Follow the instructions below to create a custom set of terms and conditions.

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    Determine if you need terms and conditions. If you are going to offer a service and that service will be available to a large number of people, you should consider creating and enforcing a set of terms and conditions. Some of the more common services offered by individuals and businesses that are a good fit include websites and mobile phone apps. These types of services are also available to the general public, which makes the use of the terms particularly useful. If the service you offer will not be available to a large number of people (for example, consulting or other types of employment), consider using a more traditional, individual contract instead of terms and conditions. Some of the more common reasons for terms and conditions include:

    • Protecting your business.[1]
      Simply put, if you don’t set the terms and conditions, you risk insecurity and misunderstanding on the part of the user.[2]

    • Prevention of abuse. The terms and conditions are legally binding and therefore may prevent users of your service from abusing or abusing that service. The terms and conditions will describe the guidelines for using your service, as well as what will happen if you do not follow their guidelines.

    • Own your content. The content you provide to users is likely yours and you want to protect it from theft or misuse. Terms and conditions are a great way to convey this to your users.

    • Limitation of Liability. No one is perfect and you are bound to have errors in your content. Terms and conditions are a great way to warn your users that you will not be held responsible for such errors.

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    Evaluate the types of provisions you will need to include in your terms and conditions. Depending on the type of service you provide, you’ll want to tailor your terms and conditions to protect your specific situation. Terms and conditions are an incredibly powerful tool and you want to make sure you get the most out of them.[3]
    For example:

    • If you collect personal information from your users (eg, credit card information, names, addresses), you must include a privacy policy that describes how that private information will be used, stored, and disclosed.
    • If you offer accounts or subscriptions to users, you must explain the policies for those accounts and subscriptions, including how they can be terminated in case of abuse.
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    Decide where your terms and conditions will be located and how they will be accessed. The final step in preparing to write your terms and conditions is to consider where the data will reside and how users will access it.[4]
    It is important to consider this before writing your terms and conditions, as your answers to these questions will determine how the terms and conditions are written.

    • Consider posting your terms and conditions in a place that is easily accessible, preferably even where users need to access.[5]
      For example, if your service is a website that offers goods for purchase, you might want to display your terms and conditions as soon as a new user accesses your website for the first time. If you do this, you should frame your terms and conditions with a clear and engaging title and opening statement so users will want to read it.
    • Consider requiring your users to actively accept your terms and conditions before they can use your service.[6]
      For example, require your users to click or check a box that says “I have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions” before they are allowed to use your website or other service.[7]
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    Start by accepting their terms and conditions. Your first paragraph should always be an acceptance clause. This clause ensures that your users understand that by using your service they agree to the terms and conditions. Always type this in bold, all caps, and all caps.[8]

    • Consider using the following language: “By accessing and using this service, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of this agreement. In addition, when you use these particular services, you will be subject to any published guidelines or rules applicable to such services. Any Participation in this service will constitute acceptance of this agreement. If you do not agree to be bound by the foregoing, please do not use this service.”
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    Include a privacy statement if applicable. If your service involves the collection and retention of users’ personal information, you will need to include a privacy statement. This clause will establish how the personal data of the user will be used and when, in any case, his data will be transmitted to others.[9]

    • Privacy policies will usually be detailed and can therefore be quite long. It should include a definition of the data that is collected, how it will be used, and how it will be protected.[10]
    • To view an example of the full privacy policy, please see here.
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    You deny the accuracy of any information you provide. This provision will protect you from the fullest possible legal liability for any bugs or errors that may be present in your service.[11]

    • If your service is a website, consider using a phrase like: “This site and its components are provided for informational purposes only; this site is not responsible for the accuracy, usefulness, or availability of any information transmitted or available through the site, and shall not be liable for any errors or omissions in such information.” This type of provision will help protect you from liability in the event a user trusts your information and causes a problem.
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    Add a provision on intellectual property rights. If you have intellectual property associated with your service and that intellectual property is accessible or viewable by your users, you must include a clause that informs users that you own that property. Some of the potential property that you may want to protect includes logos, designs, and content that you have created.[12]

    • If necessary, include a provision similar to this: “The Site and its original content, features, and functionality are the property of [Owner of Website] and are protected by international copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, and other intellectual property or proprietary rights laws.”
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    Find out their relationships with advertisers. This type of provision will generally apply to your service if it is an advertising website. If you are in this category, you must include a statement about the ads and whether you are compensated for providing this support.[13]

    • If you are paid to provide advertisements, you are required by law to indicate so in this provision.
    • Even if you don’t get paid, it might be a good idea to give your users a brief statement about your advertising policy, including that you take your reputation and credibility very seriously and only promote products you trust.
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    Determine the payment policy. If you offer a service that customers will pay for, include information about acceptable payment methods, how those payments will be processed, and how the return or refund process works.[14]

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    Include a declaration of delivery of the goods. If you offer a service that includes the delivery of goods to your customers, you must include a statement of responsibility that you and others have in connection with that delivery. If you use a third party shipping service, make sure your customers know that you are no longer responsible once the third party picks up your product. Also consider a statement about the possibility of late deliveries and how they will be handled.[15]

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    Use a termination clause if necessary. If you need to register or create an account before allowing access to your service, you should always include a section in your terms and conditions that discusses how those accounts can be terminated if misused.[16]

    • If necessary, consider including a provision that says: “We may terminate your access to the Site, without reason or notice, which may result in the loss and destruction of all information associated with your account. Any provision of this Agreement that, for its nature, if it survives termination, shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnification, and limitations of liability.”
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    Add a notification provision. When aspects of your services change, it may be necessary to change your terms and conditions to reflect those changes. Therefore, it is necessary to include a notification provision in your terms and conditions to notify your users how you will handle changes to the terms and conditions.

    • An acceptable notice provision may look like this: “The Company reserves the right to change these terms from time to time as it deems appropriate, and your continued use of the Site will constitute your acceptance of any modifications to these terms. If there are any changes to our privacy policy, posting We will notify you that these changes have been made on our home page and other key pages of our site If there are any changes in the way we use the personally identifiable information of users of our site, Notification will be sent by email or postal notice to those affected by the change. It becomes effective. Any changes to our privacy policy will be posted on our site 30 days prior to the change. Therefore, we encourage you to re-read this statement regularly.”

Examples of terms and conditions

Sample Website Terms and Conditions

Forum Terms and Conditions Examples

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