I like terms and conditions – there, I’ve said it. The reason for this is that I like to know where I stand. By nature, I’m a calculated risk taker so, to me, it makes sense to know, for example if I decide to buy something, whether I can change my mind or not and what happens if something is faulty.

For a business owner having good terms and conditions is a little bit more fundamental – get it wrong and you can acquire a really poor reputation with your buyers (at best) or end up with an enforced holiday in prison and/or paying an eye-wateringly large fine.

Since the question I’m asked most often (you know the “if I had a pound for every time…” question) is ‘do I need to pay for terms and conditions?’, I’d like to share with you my top mistakes people make with terms and conditions


“Liberating” another business’ terms and conditions may seem like fun. They’re a business like yours; go on, nobody will know especially if you change a few words here and there. After all, those terms were most likely written for that business (who cares about copyright theft) based on what they needed or they may even be “third hand” because they have been “borrowed” too.

The problem is that your business needs terms which apply to you and what you do because you will be bound by those terms so if, for example, you promise the earth – you must deliver it.

2          THE LAW ACCORDING TO ….

This is a personal favourite and linked to “borrowing” as above really, but I can’t resist singling this one out.

Very often I see terms which are written “in accordance with the state of California” (substitute ‘Nevada’, ‘Florida’ or any other state). Nothing wrong with that provided that your business is based in California. I can’t help but smile thinking that, as a customer with a complaint about a £20 purchase the seller could, in theory, end up paying my costs to go to a California court to sort things out.

3          OUT OF DATE TERMS

Terms and conditions, like everything else have a shelf life. The law changes and your business must keep up to date to maintain and retain credibility.

I will also admit to being an “enthusiastic” internet shopper (some may say addict but let’s not go there). The other day I came across a well known lingerie company’s terms and conditions which were quite clearly out of date and, in actual fact, failed to comply with current law. If they can’t get their terms and conditions right, will they get my order right?

I took my £50 spend elsewhere – petty, but true.

4          I DON’T NEED TERMS

Of course you don’t! You’d much prefer not to give buyers the information which they must be given before they place an order. It’s fun having poor reviews about your business and is bound to increase sales. Not to worry, any reduction in sales may well be obliterated by the large fine you have to pay because you did not comply with the law.

You don’t need to spend a fortune or lose sleep over your terms and conditions because even with a modest budget you can have terms and conditions which will work for your business, not against it.

Would you like to chat about your terms of business? Call 01244 300413 or email – no obligation Free Chat to get you on track in your business.

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