Startups: Terms And Conditions, Legal Documents For Your New Business￼
We encounter many questions from new startups. One of the frequent questions we receive is, “Is it legally required that my website have Terms and Conditions”? “If not, why do I need them?”
If you have recently started a new business or have immersed yourself in the startup world, you may be wondering if the website for your business requires legally binding documents.
The answer to this question depends upon your business, type of services or goods, and products being offered.
Are terms and conditions mandatory by law?
No, having a terms and conditions document on your website is not mandatory by law. However, you may be legally required to make certain disclosures if you provide certain services and goods, such as trading/ cryptocurrency platforms telehealth/ telemedicine platforms. Therefore, it is highly recommended to engage experts to write terms and conditions for your business. I will explain why in brief in this article.
What happens if you do not have terms and conditions?
You may be providing services to your customers, such as online services like social media marketing, crowdfunding platforms, blockchain-based decentralized streaming platforms, telehealth/telemedicine platforms, and other similar online services. Suppose you provide any of the above listed or similar online services in which you provide services directly or indirectly through your website. In that case, it is highly recommended that you write terms and conditions for your website. A terms and conditions document legally bind your users to comply with the rules contained therein. This document will also have terms that will set out the rights and duties of your users and your company. The terms and condition document’s most important features include limiting your company’s liability and setting out terms for dispute resolution, including which country/state/province law will be applicable and the method of dispute resolution. In the case of online services, the terms and conditions document need to be relatively comprehensive compared to offline or physical on-site services (may vary depending upon business model).
Suppose you are selling goods through your website. In that case, it is essential to have terms and conditions written for your website as they will contain terms such as cancellation and refund terms, website usage policy, and other terms for effectively running your business. Terms regarding e-commerce websites vary depending upon your business model. If vendors can sign up and sell their products on your website (such as Amazon), or if only you are selling the products (Apple), the terms for your website will vary. A one size fits all approach will be detrimental to your business.
What else do you need for your website?
Once again, companies will have to review their privacy programs and likely amend further to comply with CPRA’s new requirements. That said, the CPRA generally becomes operative on January 1, 2023, and during that time, California regulators are expected to provide additional information on compliance and enforcement implications of the new law.
Companies should monitor CCPA/CPRA developments and ensure their privacy programs and procedures remain aligned with current compliance requirements.
The abovementioned legislation mandates that the privacy practices of businesses be transparent and declared to the general public. These privacy terms also contain the rights of your website users and where the users can reach your company to avail themselves of those rights.
How we can help you
Mapping your product with the law and drafting documents for the safety of your business:
We will assess your business model and accordingly determine the laws that apply to it. We will provide consultation and assist you in creating documents for your business after examining your business.
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Akash Mehrotra, Team Lead | IPR | Data Protection & Privacy Law, Vidma Consulting Group LLP