Accuracy in website terms and conditions

For legal documents, accurate information is important. When you use a template, make sure that you customize the content carefully.

Business Link supplies a template for website terms and conditions. Many website owners appear to use the template, but they do not change the template to their requirements. Therefore, the terms and conditions are not accurate.

Accepting the terms and conditions causes usability problems

The template states, "If you continue to browse and use this website you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the following terms and conditions of use."

On 2010-01-30, Google showed that 332,000 websites have this term.

To make terms and conditions legally binding, visitors must agree to the terms and conditions (www.out-law.com/page-5813). Therefore, you must show people the terms and conditions when they visit the website. To make sure that a visitor accepts the terms and conditions, the usual method is to make the visitor select a check box to agree.

If you make the website visitors accept the terms and conditions, you decrease the usability of the website.

If you do not make the website visitors accept the terms and conditions, the text is not necessary.

Customers cannot get sufficient information

The template has two contradictory terms:

If a website does not supply accurate information about products and services, a customer cannot get accurate information about those products and services. Without accurate information, a customer cannot make sure that a product or a service meets the requirements.

Links to the website are not permitted without permission

The template states, "You may not create a link to this website from another website or document without [business name]'s prior written consent."

On 2010-01-30, Google showed that 109,000 websites have this term.

Links to a website bring visitors, and increase the search engine ranks (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/10/good-times-with-inbound-links.html).

The results in a search engine are links to websites. If you want to stop search engines from showing the website in search results, use a robots.txt file or a <meta> tag (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/06/improving-on-robots-exclusion-protocol.html). Text on a web page does not prevent a search engine from linking to a website.

See also

Problems with plain English

Nobody reads terms and conditions: it's official (www.out-law.com/page-10929)

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