Are Your Terms and Conditions Doing Their Job Properly?
Terms and conditions are overlooked, avoided and often hated but they are vital to your business. It’s your chance to explain how you do business and protect you and your customers. You can set down important issues such as:
- when you’ll provide the product or service
- what happens if something goes wrong
- who’s responsible for what
- when you’d like to be paid
- what you’ll do if payment is late
In short, terms and conditions are your “friend” so why do many businesses still view them as the enemy? Many businesses think that having a good set of terms and conditions drafted is a waste of money – and so, when the summons appears will end up spending so much more than was necessary.
THE FUN BIT
Let’s start by taking a sneaky peek at some unusual and interesting (and frankly odd) terms which we found in terms and conditions which some businesses are using.
(1) “Borrowing” terms and conditions
Some examples of what happens when not enough attention is spent reading borrowed terms and conditions for business.
“Disputes will be settled according to the law in Yugoslavia” – the only minor problem is there is currently no Yugoslavia.
(2) Do you really do that?
Terms and conditions are supposed to assist a business, not hinder it and this means you really do need to understand what you agree to do. My current favourite
“Delivery will take place within 15 minutes” – that’s really fast for the takeaway I think they originated from but amazing (and unachievable I would think) for stationery items that needed to travel over 300 miles.
(3) Think about the consequences
One of my personal favourites is that a particular agreement
“will be governed by the laws of the United States and by the laws of the State of California”
Now, that might not sound funny at first, but think about this being used by a handbag seller in Birmingham, UK. If you are selling a £10 handbag and there is a dispute about it, technically, you could end up having to travel to California to deal with the problem. Not much profit in that sale is there?
(4) Legalese gone wild
Many people complain that there is too much legalese in terms and conditions. However, it’s not always the legal jargon that raises an eyebrow. I like this one
“You agree that in using this you will not be doing that could make the server down”
(5) What matters to you?
Sometimes you need to be very precise in your terms and conditions. For example, descriptions of what you’re selling need to be accurate.
“Your hire dress should only be washed at 30 degrees using (particular brand name inserted) washing powder, not liquid. Once you have washed your hire dress it must be hung and air dried for 5 hours before being returned to us”.
(6) Just too much?
Although it was a spoof, I did enjoy the recent joke about Apple’s ios 7’s terms and conditions which featured in the Huffington Post:-
“This is page 46, nobody’s still reading this. I bet only about five people clicked to read the T&Cs in the first place – we might as well just say anything we like.
Tony on floor 5 of Apple HQ smells of sardines”
So, are your terms and conditions a creation of bits borrowed from other sites or a real credit to you and reviewed every year? If not, it’s time to chat to us. Call us on 01244 300413 or email firstname.lastname@example.org