What Should a Terms and Conditions Agreement Include?

What Should a Terms and Conditions Agreement Include?

Most business websites today have a Terms and Conditions agreement. These can also be known as "Terms of Use" and "Terms of Service" agreements, and are often used interchangeably.

Now, if you're in the process of getting your website launched you may have decided to have a Terms and Conditions agreement written, too. After all, a Terms and Conditions agreement contains rules that are legally binding for both you and your customers.

However, you may be unfamiliar with what sorts of things a Terms and Conditions agreement should include. The truth is that every Terms and Conditions agreement should be tailored to fit your company's needs. With that said, there are still essential provisions that every serious company should include.

In this article, we'll go over a framework you should consider using when writing your Terms and Conditions agreement.

Our Terms and Conditions Generator makes it easy to create a Terms and Conditions agreement for your business. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click on the "Terms and Conditions Generator" button.
  2. At Step 1, select the Website option and click "Next step":
  3. TermsFeed Terms and Conditions Generator: Create Terms and Conditions - Step 1

  4. Answer the questions about your website and click "Next step" when finished:
  5. TermsFeed Terms and Conditions Generator: Answer questions about website - Step 2

  6. Answer the questions about your business practices and click "Next step" when finished:
  7. TermsFeed Terms and Conditions Generator: Answer questions about business practices - Step 3

  8. Enter your email address where you'd like your agreement sent and click "Generate."

    TermsFeed Terms and Conditions Generator: Enter your email address - Step 4

    You'll be able to instantly access and download your new agreement.


What Should a Terms and Conditions Agreement Include for Your Website?

Before we begin, you should realize that not all of the elements we list must be included in your Terms and Conditions agreement although they're a great starting point. As previously suggested, you should look at the sections we outline as a basic structure that you can customize as needed.

Add a Clear Description of What You're Selling

A Terms and Conditions agreement should include a description of the products or services you sell, including those that aren't provided with a contract. You can either describe each product or service individually and in detail or you can reference them generally and then by link to another document, such as an online brochure or your website's product or service pages.

Note that if you link to pages or documents where customers can get detailed information about your products or services, it's acceptable to use general terms in your Terms and Conditions agreement's language, such as "the services listed on our website" or "the products listed in our catalogue."

Provide Your Price and Payment Terms

Your Terms and Conditions agreement should include a section where you describe your terms of payment and the prices of your products and services. For example, this section should include information on:

  • Prices
  • Terms of payment
  • Cost of shipping, handling, freight, and returns
  • Fees on late payments and any interest added
  • Fees for returned checks

It's also a good idea to link to a separate price schedule if your prices periodically vary. You can be general in your language here if you do link to a separate document, saying something like "Please view the prices we typically charge on our website here."

With that said, be sure to let customers know the conditions under which you may change prices, how you'll notify customers of changes, and whether they could affect the terms of your Terms and Conditions agreement.

Here's how Partake Foods, a leading Shopify Ecommerce store, provides this information in its Terms agreement:

Partake Foods Terms of Service: Modifications to the Service and Prices clause

Method and Timing of Payments

In the section on the method of payment, you should be specific about your terms when it comes to late payments. For instance, be specific as to how long customers have to pay an invoice, whether that's seven days upon receipt, 14 days, or 30 days, etc.

Also, be specific as to how you'll accept payment. Do you accept personal checks? Credit cards? Cash? Online payment methods, such as through PayPal or Payoneer? Digital currency, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum?

Warranties or Guarantees

Using a warranty or guarantee in your Terms and Conditions agreement helps provide your customers with a sense of reassurance and security. There's a level of trust that's produced. However, you should ensure that any warranties or guarantees offered have time limits. It would be a painful mistake to leave a time limit out and then have a customer ask for their money back after ten years.

Try to use a time limit, which is standard for your industry. With that said, if you're in an industry where there happens to be a larger risk of liability, you may not want to include a section on warranties and guarantees at all.

Include a Section on Liability Limitations

Now, even if you're in an industry at high risk for liability you can still limit damages. For example, by including a section in your Terms and Conditions agreement on liability limitations you can potentially mitigate the amount you'd have to pay if found liable.

  • What happens if your services are inadequate and how is that term defined?
  • What happens if your goods are defective? How is "defective" defined?
  • What constitutes a valid reason for goods to be returned?
  • What happens if you provide services or products that aren't as advertised?

Here's an example of a liability clause in the Terms of Use agreement for USA.life, a social media platform:

USA Life Terms of Use: Indemnity clause

Your Refund and Return Policies

If you have a retail or Ecommerce business, then having a Refund and Return Policy section in your Terms and Conditions agreement is a good idea. In fact, both types of companies will often have an entirely separate Return and Refund Policy, which the Terms and Conditions agreement references, summarizes, and links to.

Be Specific about Delivery Timelines

Whatever your policy is regarding deadlines for the completion of services or expected dates of delivery for products, this is the section where you should include that information.

Privacy Statement

It's a good idea to include a section that references your policies on privacy and confidentiality. However, keep in mind that if you collect and process private, personal information you're legally required to have a separate Privacy Policy even if you include a section dedicated to the subject in your Terms and Conditions agreement.

Many companies write up a brief summary of their privacy practices and then link to their full Privacy Policy from this section.

Here's how the Vermont Country Store summarizes its privacy practices in its Terms and Conditions, and then links to its formal Privacy Policy:

Vermont Country Store Terms and Conditions: Privacy and Security clause

Lay Out What Remedies You Offer in Case of a Breach of Your Terms

You need a clear process for handling disputes or any breach of your Terms and Conditions agreement. A breach could include you providing less than stellar quality and workmanship or the customer failing to pay for services or products delivered.

In the first case, a remedy might be that you provide a full refund. In the second, perhaps you send the customer's account to collections. Either way, you should be clear about your preferred method of dispute resolution.

Remember that litigation is costly and the outcome can be uncertain. Often it's in everyone's interest to pursue alternative resolutions like arbitration or mediation.

Terminating the Agreement Between You and the User

This clause is where you should outline how the relationship described in your Terms and Conditions agreement can end. Most Terms and Conditions agreements end if one party provides notice of termination, which becomes effective 30 days later. It can also end by mutual agreement.

Governing Law

If you sell services or goods that aren't limited by location, you should include a clause that states which geographic authority governs your Terms and Conditions agreement agreement.

For instance, you may sell goods all over the United States, but your company is based in a specific state. It's likely that you'd want your Terms and Conditions agreement to be governed by that state's legal system.

What Should a Mobile App's Terms and Conditions Agreement include?

What Should a Mobile App's Terms and Conditions Agreement include?

Essentially, you should include everything previously mentioned in a Terms and Conditions agreement written for an app. However, you should also add a few additional sections, such as the following:

  • User Generated Content: If you've developed a messaging app, a social media or image hosting platform, users typically generate content and share it. This section should outline what they can and cannot upload and share.
  • Who Owns the Content: When users upload content to your app or share it, you need to make clear who owns it. Some companies state clearly that any content uploaded to their platforms becomes their property while others make no such claims.
  • Rules and Guidelines for Use: You should make it clear under what conditions a user may use your app. What's the user's responsibility?
  • Copyright Infringement: What constitutes copyright infringement on your app? For instance, some apps allow people to take other people's images and post them freely as long as they aren't used for commercial purposes.

Here's a quick example of how Signal, a privacy focused messenger app lets users know who owns what on the platform:

Signal Terms and Privacy Policy: Your Rights and License with Signal

Finally, note that it's a best practice to ensure that users must actively accept the Terms and Conditions before using the app. Do this by using an "I Agree to Terms" checkbox.

William B.

William B.

Legal writer.

This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.