Terms and conditions are the backbone of all sales, and are a legal document that sets out the terms on conditions on which that sale takes place.
Many businesses and entrepreneurs spend hours building rapport with clients and planning websites, but will copy and paste another business’ terms and conditions, edit a few names, and proceed on that basis. Not only does this infringe on that business’ intellectual property rights relating over the terms and conditions, but this also leaves your business with terms and conditions that are either irrelevant or do not fully consider the position of your business.
With the increase in internet trading, ordering and sales, as well as the move to “paperless” sales, more and more businesses are ignoring important aspects of terms and conditions.
If there is a dispute or issue relating to the product, the first avenue for both the seller or provider and the client or customer is to review the terms and conditions.
Your terms and conditions need to set out:
(i) The terms on which your products or services are provided. While these may set out as simply as possible in your invoice, more detailed terms should be set out in the terms and conditions. This may include penalties for late or non-payment, terms and schedules for disputes, as well as any other standard trading terms that are used or relied upon in the daily operation of your business. These must also consider and be in accordance with the appropriate laws;
(ii) Where appropriate, ensure that any retention of title or security interest may be registered on the PPSR. Retention on title and security interest protection is one of the key aspects that is undergoing change. Any existing or generic clause must reflect the fact that from February 2014, all security interests must be validly registered on the PPSR, regardless of any previous registration. If your business supplies goods or services, then any claim for unpaid goods or work must be duly registered to be valid; and
(iii) Your legal obligations. Where a dispute arises over goods or services supplied, your terms and conditions need to establish what rights and remedies are available to the parties. These should reflect the wants and needs of your business, as well as the rights available at law.
Since few (if any) of these aspects are shared between businesses, it stands to reason that terms and conditions reflect your business and are tailored to afford your business the maximum legal support possible.
If you would like to discuss your present terms and conditions or would like to update these in light of changing legislation, please contact Harriet Warlow-Shill on +613 8554 3800 or 0413 125 521.