Terms of Service For E-Commerce Websites

Although the average consumer tends to disregard the fine print found in a terms of service contract, this legal documentation provides protection and security to business owners and/or service providers in the event of an unforeseen situation or unexpected outcome. Especially for companies that conduct business or facilitate various transactions via the internet, a website’s terms of use is imperative to compensate for the lack of or limited verbal and/or written communications.

Presenting your professional terms of service in a way that is both professional but user friendly is necessary for optimizing customer relations and maintaining a reputable appearance. There is certainly a very fine line between concise and personable communicability and complex legal jargon that is convoluted and difficult for the average consumer to understand. In fact, a terms of service that is ambiguous and vague can be a huge turn off for potential clients, but failing to include adequate terms of use can put a business at great risk for unnecessary legal action.

Types of Terms of Service Agreements

Click Wrap Agreements: In order to manifest assent to the terms of the agreement, a website user must physically click a button that indicates their acceptance. Failure to do so will limit the user from being able to explore the website further or buy anything.

Scroll Wrap Agreements: In order to manifest assent to the terms of the agreement, a user must scroll through the entire agreement. Once the user has scrolled, and presumably read the entire agreement, they must click on a button that indicates their acceptance of the terms.

Browse Wrap Agreements: These type of agreements are among the most controversial. Such agreements do not require a user to engage in affirmative conduct to signify their assent to the websites terms. In essence, a user is considered to have assented to the terms simply by using the site. This only applies if a service agreement is posted somewhere that a reasonable person would know where to find it and would be likely to read it.

Benefits of Implementing a Terms of Service Agreement

Typically, a website terms of service protects business owners from legal liability. The contract simply states that when customers visit the website and conduct their business or complete a transaction, they are voluntarily agreeing to these written disclaimers. A terms of use can also be used to protect the content of an owner’s site and enforce copyright infringement in the event that someone steals or mimics any information regarding your product, services, or branded material.

Implementation of a legal terms of use offers full disclosures concerning the legalities behind advertisements, privacy, intellectual property, and any statistical data that is presented on your site. It may be used to inform customers how their information may be stored or used in the future, any involvement with third party service providers, or expected payment methods.

Romy Jurado is one of the founders of Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. a business, real estate and immigration law firm. She focuses her practice on business law, including corporate and transactional matters with an emphasis on corporate formation, stock and asset sales, contract drafting, and business immigration. Romy is originally from Peru and moved to the USA with the dream of becoming an attorney and entrepreneur. Romy is actively involved in the community through her work as a Score certified mentor, and speaking at conferences to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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