Small print with big benefits

We know more than most about the thought that goes into designing engaging sites for you and your customers; about the effort needed to make it easy to use for your visitors, and the necessity for quality content to get it noticed. These are always high priorities, but one area often missed is the small print - the Terms and Conditions.

Even if you have a brochure website have you considered how important your Terms and Conditions are and what they need to say? Below is a summary of the things you should be thinking about:

Information about your company and the website

Company informationDisplaying T&C’s shows that your company takes its legal obligations seriously – remember you are legally required to provide information such as your company name, the registered office address and company registration number.

  • They provide details on the ownership of all content on your site i.e. that the information contained on your site is the copyright of the company and is not provided for everyone else to download and use without permission.
  • They advise users that you retain the right to change your online terms and conditions as often as you need to, and that it’s the user’s responsibility to check for updates – not yours.
  • They send out the message that content of your site is for “information purposes only”. This helps cover you against any unforeseen errors – for example, pricing errors on your site or error on any site that you link to.

Looking after information coming in via your site

Terms and conditionsIf users of your site can submit information on your website, you also need to ensure that you provide at least the following basic information on the data you’re collecting. For example:

  • Making users aware of what data you are collecting from them, e.g. you plan to collect their names, contact details, phone numbers, email addresses.
  • Making users aware of what you plan to do with the data, e.g. you’re using it for improving customer services and build internal statistics.
  • Making users aware of how you will manage their data, e.g. letting them know that you’ll look after their information and not submit it to any 3rd parties.

Detailing essential information such as this on your own terms and conditions will help protect you and comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. Not only that but it will also give users the peace of mind that you take the privacy of their information seriously.

If you haven’t already done so, take a few minutes to review the terms and conditions on your site.

  • Can you find them easily enough?
  • Are you making users aware that they exist?

If the answer to either is ‘No’, it’ll do you no harm to add a link somewhere to point users in their direction. They don’t have to be displayed on your home page - linking to them on another page is fine but do make sure that visitors to your site can’t say they weren’t aware of them.


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