Website terms and conditions
Adlex developed the UK terms and conditions for Lingoo.com when the site transferred from a French to a UK company. Adlex handled the detail and complexity of the task well and quickly understood the way the site worked. I would have no hesitation in recommending Adlex for similar projects.
Peter Goldstein, Director Lingoo Ltd.
We have been very pleased with the work delivered by Adlex. Not only were they very good value for money, the process was smooth and expectations were met at all points. The turnaround was quick and I felt that Adam endeavoured to understand my business as fully as possible. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for legal documentation particularly in the?digital?field.
Alex Depledge, co-founder of Hassle.com (formerly Teddle.com)
Adlex Solicitors were one of three quotes that we obtained for three sets of website terms and conditions. We decided to proceed with Adlex. We dealt with Adam throughout the whole process and, from start to finish, he was very professional and offered a very high level of service with a vast knowledge of what he does. We were updated regularly on progress and he delivered the documents on time. Great service and I would recommend anyone to use Adlex Solicitors for any web-based legal services. I will use them again in the future.
Mr Hanson, TradesSupermarket.com
Aidan Willcocks, Gousto
I instructed Adlex to write the T&Cs and privacy & cookies policy for my new website. It was easy working with Adam Taylor of Adlex and I feel that he took the time to understand my business and my concerns in order to write high-quality legal documents that weren’t just adapted for but instead deeply reflected the needs of my business. It’s important to get the legal aspects of a site right and I’d recommend Adlex to any startup.
As we are a start-up online business, the Adlex team were the perfect choice for developing our Terms and Conditions and Privacy and Returns policies. Adam understood our business needs and the dealt very professional with us. We appreciated his hard work and punctuality and are looking forward to working with him again.
Michel Akl, Business Developer, Aurum Gems
We are extremely happy to have selected the services of Adlex Solicitors and Mr Adam Taylor especially. His in-depth knowledge of this specialist area and clear communication skills proved to be a great assets. Adam guided both myself and a number of non-native speakers through a number of issues related to online business.
Richard White, Business Development Manager, the label printers limited (label.co.uk)
It was a pleasure to work with Adlex on the terms and conditions for our web-based product. They clearly understood our requirements and translated all the legal "jargon" into something we could understand and discuss with them. We would not hesitate to recommend Adlex for online terms and conditions.
Colin Johnson, Director, Medilert
Adlex have always provided excellent advice regarding legal aspects of the Internet. Refreshingly, Adlex give sound advice, rather than a list of legal possibilities. With more reasonable rates than other so-called experts, we expect to use Adlex for our legal needs, and recommend them.
Gordon Kenneway, Managing Director, Firstserv
Finding a law firm that understands your business needs can be difficult. Finding a law firm that also offers knowledge and experience of internet and online law is all but impossible. In Adlex, we believe we have found the elusive combination. Consequently, whether for established online businesses or start-up internet trading, we have no hesitation in recommending the Adlex service as the one-stop solution for legal representation, guidance and support.
Peter Moth, Managing Director, MLots.com Ltd
I contacted Adlex to create Terms & Conditions as well as a Privacy & Cookies policy for our forthcoming website. Adlex rapidly created the required documents and also provided great advice on certain legal aspects. They fully understood our business model. I would highly recommend Adlex as they provide an excellent service with great value for money.
Zed Matloob, Cabbuyer Limited
Adlex Solicitors provided a first class service for advice on Terms and Conditions, Privacy and Cookies Policy as well as comprehensive checklist of Do's & Don't for online retailer legals. Adam Taylor helped us through the process from beginning to end and completed the work within the duration discussed, no fuss, clear & straight forward legal advice. I would highly recommend Adlex Solicitors for peace of mind and I will be a returning client if further advice is required.
Jo Morley, Absolutely Adorable
Here are some FAQs about web related terms and conditions.
What are online terms and conditions?
Online terms and conditions (or t&cs for short) simply mean a contract in an online context, usually between the provider of online goods and/or services on the one hand and buyers of those goods or users of services on the other. There are many other ways to describe the same thing, eg "user agreement", "conditions of use", "conditions of sale".
Do I need terms and conditions for my website?
Well, the main purpose of having a contract with your users is to set out the details of your legal relationship and to make it less likely that users will have a basis to sue you if something goes wrong. Indeed, having a tight set of web terms and conditions can be a useful bargaining chip if you receive a solicitor’s letter from the lawyer acting for your customer. You or your solicitor can point out the difficulties which the customer would face in taking legal action against you. Whereas if there are no terms and conditions, or if they don’t work (eg because terms are invalid or not sufficiently relevant), then you may have little to fall back on - other than an insurance policy (if you have one) or the hope that you won’t be sued!
Many payment providers such as Paypal require a satisfactory set of ecommerce terms and conditions before they will let you open a merchant account.
Such website terms and conditions can also be a useful vehicle to include certain compulsory information that some kinds of websites are required to supply to users, particularly under the Distance Selling Regulations and Ecommerce Regulations.
Are there any laws or regulations which apply to website terms and conditions?
Yes, in a word. Terms and conditions constitute a contract and so, if UK law applies, these are governed by the UK law of contract (a combination of UK and EU legislation / court decisions) as well as regulatory controls. There are general laws which apply to all contracts and then specific laws which apply to particular kinds of contracts eg contracts involving consumers or contracts which are formed over the internet or contracts for the sale of goods. Examples include the "Ecommerce Regulations" as well as rules about "distance selling" - see below.
Distance Selling Rules
The rules about distance selling have been radically changed with effect from June 2014. Terms and conditions are a useful means of complying with part - but only part - of these regulations. There is much more that needs to be done. See distance selling for more detailed information.
How standard are standard terms and conditions?
Terms and conditions may look similar if you just skim them briefly but in fact they vary greatly (or at least they should do) because they cover many different situations, from say sale terms and conditions for businesses retailing goods on the web to user agreements for online services such as social media sites, internet dating services or online computer games, say from online auction terms and conditions to those required for web platforms where businesses can advertise or sell products to consumers or other businesses or both. There are many other examples.
As one would expect, consumers have more legal protection than businesses. This means that there are a plethora of laws and regulations which restrict what you can put in consumer contracts. For example, the Unfair Contract Terms Act says that you can’t exclude or limit liability for the quality of goods vis a vis consumers. The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations require consumer contracts to be in plain and intelligible language and (with limited exceptions) they ban terms which are unfair. The Distance Selling Regulations require that, when contracting with consumers at a distance (including over the internet), you have to supply certain minimum information to users including a right of "cooling off", which is enabled by the regulations. The Unfair Trading Regulations ban certain unfair trading practices, some of which are criminal offences. And so on.
With B2B terms and conditions, there are less restrictions but still you don’t have an entirely free hand. For example, clauses in standard contracts which try to exclude or limit your legal liability if something goes wrong can be struck down by a court if considered unreasonable.
Will terms and conditions drafted by a lawyer ensure that I am never legally liable for anything?
No, not even "lawyer terms and conditions" can completely exonerate you from legal liability. In fact a lawyer drafting website or other internet standard terms and conditions under UK law will be careful before disclaiming all legal liability - even in B2B scenarios - because such a clause is very likely to be declared unreasonable, and invalid, by the UK courts, thereby leaving the business entirely unprotected (unless there is a fallback clause). A solicitor familiar with UK law applicable to online terms and conditions is more likely to draft a series of more moderate, self-contained limitations on liability - which stand a greater chance of surviving court scrutiny.
Should I use template terms and conditions?
Of course that’s your call. It will save you some money. Perhaps you might get away with it if you are simply providing information free of charge to the public in a low-risk field, where there are no complicating factors such as user generated content (UGC) or any kind of ecommerce. Terms and conditions for such "brochure" websites do tend to be fairly straightforward.
The risk increases for ecommerce websites or other kinds of sites with a high risk factor such as those including UGC (see internet defamation). The reason being that template terms and conditions are less likely to be relevant to your business model, thereby leaving gaps. So, for example, standard terms and conditions which try to cover both goods and services are likely to fall short because the legal frameworks are entirely different. And web terms and conditions geared towards business customers are likely to include many terms which breach consumer protection regulations and are therefore unenforceable against consumers.
Obviously, if you use a solicitor for your terms and conditions, you have the benefit of professional indemnity insurance cover.
How can Adlex Solicitors help with legal advice about website terms and conditions ...
... for a free initial chat and more information about fixed price solicitor-drafted terms and conditions for your website, please get in touch with website lawyer Adam Taylor on +44 (0) 207 317 8404 or email.