When you’re starting your business there are so many things to do and so much to learn. It can be tempting to look for shortcuts; to think “This will do for now, I’ll fix it later when I’m earning more.”
I have people regularly ask me “Is it okay to copy someone else’s terms and conditions from their website? Can I use a free template I found online?”
Unless you know what you’re doing this can be a disaster. Here’s why:
Who wrote the terms and conditions you want to copy?
Was it a lawyer? Someone who knew what they were doing? Did that person actually copy them from someone else’s site? You have no idea of the quality of or wording is missing that you might need.
Is their business in the same industry as you?
While some terms may be generic to all businesses, there will be some terms that you’ll need that are specific to your business. Will a photographer, a finance coach and a skincare business have the same terms and conditions? Definitely not!
Is their business in the same country as you?
Your terms and conditions will be governed by the laws of a certain country. Someone from the US wouldn’t want to copy my terms, for example, as mine are governed by New Zealand law. Those countries have different laws in terms of privacy and consumer protection, to name two.
Your terms and conditions are a type of contract with the people who read your blog, subscribe to your newsletter and purchase your products and services. This means you really want to make sure that they are well written.
So what do you do??
The first obvious option is to have a lawyer write your terms and conditions for you. This doesn’t need to be expensive so don’t dismiss this option out of hand. Balance the time it will take you to pursue another option with the cost of having the job done well and being confident that you are protected.
The second option is to head online and buy a template from someone reputable. You’ll need to do your homework to make sure that the person knows what they are doing and the terms suit your business, your industry and comply with your country’s laws.
Not sure what should be in your terms and conditions? Download your free Legal Health Workbook to learn what your business needs.
Disclaimer: This article is an educational resource designed to make you aware of some of the legal needs of your business. The information provided should be treated as a guide only and should not take the place of hiring a lawyer. Reading this article does not create a lawyer-client relationship between us. If you have a specific legal issue you need help with, you need to hire a lawyer.