All that really matters, when it comes to your ecommerce terms and conditions, is that they're something you can personally commit to.
If you're selling a product, how are you shipping your items? If you provide a service, what's your refund policy?
You can include all this and more but you don't have to go overboard. As long as it's within the law and something you can stick to, that's all that matters. Let's go over the basics.
Make your delivery and shipping rules clear
You need to make your customers aware of any shipping and delivery costs of your items and services. You'll need to let them know which third parties will be handling the process (Royal Mail, DPD, Yodel, etc.), as well as the stages at which they are responsible for your item's delivery. If they make a mistake and your order isn't delivered, you need to make clear what happens then.
Specify your timeframes
How long after they order can a customer expect to receive the product they've purchased? If you're providing a service, how long after the works are agreed do you get started? You also need to make clear what happens in the event that things take a little longer than agreed and how you will communicate this to your customers.
Refunds & Returns
With any luck, you won't have to deal with many of these but, the reality is, you can't please everybody. For the occasions where you do have to, make sure you lay out, in no uncertain terms, what the stipulations are for refunds and returns. Some things to consider:
- What does the return/refund process entail?
- Who pays the shipping on a return?
- What proof of purchase do you require?
- What condition must returned items be in?
- How long do customers have to request a refund after a purchase?
Some items, such as handmade or custom items, may not be eligible for return or refund. Make sure you make that crystal clear. The important thing to remember, on the whole, is that the answers to these questions are up to you. Set the conditions in a way that is fair but, also, in a way that you can manage.
Many modern businesses offer various services and sell more than a single type of item. Many items or services may have special circumstances attached to them. For example, if you sell alcoholic products then customers, naturally, must be over 18 to purchase them. If you deal in fragile goods, there may be an extra delivery cost to ensure their safety in transit.
No doubt, you'll be discussing these special circumstances with your customers when they come to buy but make sure they're laid out clearly in your Ts and Cs all the same, for the sake of clarity.
Many ecommerce shops and service providers offer a warranty on their services or products. Do you? If the answer is yes, make sure that's laid out in no uncertain terms in your Ts and Cs. In many cases, the manufacturer of your products or materials may offer a warranty too. Make sure you mention the point from which the warranty is valid and how long it lasts for, as well as what would happen if any complaint should occur within that time frame. Would it be an automatic refund? Would an exchange be offered? Make sure your customers know.
A Matter of Law
The last thing to mention in your terms and conditions is the applicable laws under which your business operates. It just caps the whole document off with that legal seal, and confirms its authenticity in the minds your customers.
Remember; you're not a lawyer but you do know your business. Ts and Cs are legally binding, as long as your customer agrees to them, so they're here to protect you. As long as they're clear, you shouldn't have any problems. In the event that you do, you're covered!
If you would like a more detailed breakdown of what you can include in, and how to write your own terms and conditions, then download our Go.Guide PDF right here:
Want to see example Terms and Conditions? Take a look at some of our DotGO customer websites for inspiration.
More advice for online shop owners from DotGO
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