November 23, 2017

Tips for how and when to use terms and conditions at your startup

How and when to use terms and conditions

Updated: 8 December 2019

Knowing how and when to use terms and conditions at your startup is important.


Because it can save you legal headaches.

So which terms and conditions do you need?  and when should you display them?

 In this post, we share our tips.

Tip 1: When to display your terms

You should display your terms and conditions in a place where your customers can see them before they purchase your offering.

This is so you can avoid a situation where a customer says they weren't aware of how your product works before paying.

Keep in mind, sometimes you don't have a choice in the matter. 

Some  industry regulators have  a requirement that  you present customers with terms and conditions before you start work. Australian lawyers have this requirement.

How should you display your terms ?

a. In person

In person,  you  can hand your customer a copy of your terms and conditions before your customer pays for your products.

In particular, if your product is complex or expensive, it is good practice to have your client acknowledge receipt and with time to review.

a. Online

Online, having your terms displayed well before your customer reaches the checkout is good practice.

Also, having a link to your terms and conditions with a checkbox for your customer so they can confirm their understanding and agreement with those terms is also ideal. 

Further, if you can make the checkbox acknowledgement a mandatory step before the customer pays, then you can confirm the customer took a positive step to confirm the terms were understood and agreed to before payment.

If you sell online but not via an e-commerce website, you can also provide a link to your terms at the beginning of any electronic quote or invoice before you display the payment amount.

A sample notice of your terms is below: 

"By paying this invoice, I understand and agree to the terms and conditions [attached/in this link]"

Tip 2: What  your terms should cover

Broadly,  your  terms should cover how you will deliver your product  and protect your business.

Below is a list of terms that can be included:

a. Product delivery

  • purchase procedure -  including payment, delivery,  right to refuse  service; and
  • Product inclusions

b. Business protection

  • Liability disclaimers:  Service interruption,  errors,  Viruses, Security breaches,  personal injury;
  • Refunds;
  • dispute resolution;
  • Intellectual property; and
  • Termination for breach of terms.

Tip 3: Customisation

Good terms will reflect how your startup offers its products and will be tailored to protect it. 

Got questions or comments about terms and conditions? Be sure to leave them below. 

I wish you success in your ventures!

About the author 

Vivian Michael

As founder and lawyer at Michael Law Group, CPA and owner of a business consultancy, Vivian is well-positioned to advise Australia's top entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs benefit from Vivian's commercially focussed legal advice, business experience, and commitment to deliver the best quality business legal services to entrepreneurs.

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