Do You Know Why Terms and Conditions Are So Important for Your Business?
Why are Terms and Conditions so important?
Minimise legal disputes, help you understand your responsibilities and avoid wrong expectations… getting the appropriate Terms & Conditions is crucial for your company. But a lot of businesses don’t know where to start or don’t pay attention to this essential part of their paperwork. Here you can find the reasons why it is important to revise and prioritise your T&Cs.
According to the Business Dictionary, a company’s Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) can be defined as: “General and special arrangements, provisions, requirements, rules, specifications, and standards that form an integral part of an agreement or contract”. You need to take them as the manual you are going to use in every transaction or to set up every service. Something that is going to clarify every step of the process and secure your company (as well as protect your customers).
You can always use templates (if you look online is quite easy to find them), but remember that your company is unique, so your T&Cs will have to suit your way of trading and your own circumstances.
How to set your Term & Conditions
If you are in the process of writing them, you will have to look at:
- Your activity: you need to define exactly what your job is and how you do it. Timelines should also be included.
- Your warranties: The guarantees you offered (about delivering that product or service) have to be specified too.
- Payments: you need to set due dates and the terms of the payments.
- Act according to the law: all the procedures you are carrying out have to comply with the law, and you have to reflect that in your T&Cs.
Helping to clarify things
Having very precise T&Cs is very useful to manage expectations. From shipping times (for example, if you are selling products and delivering to your customers’ preferred address) to a payment calendar, if everything is concise in your terms, every customer will have a very clear idea of what to expect from you and what you expect from them. No surprises. No misunderstandings. Everything is written down.
Cover all the important matters
Do not overlook any of the parts of your trading process, even if it looks very obvious. By having it all in your T&C you are protecting your business, making every part of your procedure clear, legal and subject to your own terms. Put yourself in the worst-case scenario and try to define every situation and your actions in any of them. Remember, also, to express all of these terms in a more friendly language, to make it as easy to understand as possible.
Don’t think that any T&Cs could be used for your business: other companies might be similar to yours, but not necessarily have the same needs you have. Writing your own terms and getting help from professionals could be crucial. Lawyers and professional bodies are there to help you have the correct T&Cs for your business. For example, Buy With Confidence (www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk), a Trading Standards approval scheme, offers advice from Trading Standards to all its members, which makes the process of dealing with these matters a lot easier, whilst making sure you act within the law.
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