What Are Terms and Conditions? (+ Template)

When you sign up for an account on a new app you downloaded or apply for a new credit card, you probably have to agree to a document known as Terms and Conditions (T&C). Just about every business has — or should have — one or more of these agreements, which includes guidelines a user must agree to before using a website, app, or service.

You might also see a Terms and Conditions agreement referred to as Terms of Use or Terms of Service (ToS), but these terms refer to the same type of agreement.

What Are Terms and Conditions?

Magnifying glass over terms and conditions document

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Terms and Conditions is an agreement made between you and your consumer. “You” might be an e-commerce business selling health supplements online or a software company with a family of mobile apps. Either way, this agreement gives terms regarding your business’s and the customer’s rights and behaviors.

This legal document is something that can help your business, as it tells consumers what you expect from them. For instance, you can outline some demographic requirements and examples of acts that will breach a consumer’s right to access your business in your Terms and Conditions. When you require your customers to agree to the Terms and Conditions before registering an account for your app, website, or service, they agree, legally, to everything your document includes.

What’s the Difference Between Terms and Conditions and a Privacy Policy?

Hand holding a padlock in front of 1s and 0s

Image by Christoph Meinersmann from Pixabay

A privacy policy is a document you’ll also see on most websites, whether it’s a business website or a personal blog. Most countries require any website, app, or service to have a privacy policy that outlines to users how your service stores and uses their information and their rights to remove their data or keep it protected. This document is 100% about being transparent about privacy, explaining how your service collects and uses cookies, stores registration information, etc.

In contrast, Terms and Conditions explain to the user what you expect from them as far as the usage of your service. This document focuses more on your expectations as a business, while a privacy policy is more for the user and what they can expect from you.

What To Include in Terms and Conditions

Your T&C can include anything and everything you want to make clear to consumers who will use your service. No two T&Cs are exactly the same because each business has unique needs and requirements to communicate to its users. Still, there are some crucial points to include in your agreement, such as:

  • Definitions of terms that will be used in the document, like “affiliate” or “service”
  • User requirements for sign-ups, such as age or country restrictions
  • Copyright information, if necessary
  • Conditions of sales, such as returns, shipping, cancellations, and methods of payment
  • User restrictions
  • Rights for the business to make changes to the T&C
  • Contact information for the company

Do I Need Terms and Conditions?

Terms and Conditions aren’t legally required, but it’s still a good idea to have this document in place for your website, app, or service. Doing so gives you protection as a business to take action against consumers who don’t follow your terms. When your users agree to your Terms and Conditions, they’re agreeing to use your service in the way you intended. If they don’t, you reserve the right to deactivate their accounts or take other actions to preserve your intended usage.

Terms and Conditions also gives you the right to the content you store on your website or app. With a copyright clause included in the document, you let others know that you own your logo, branding, content, and other intellectual property, which can help prevent infringement.

Can I Use a Terms and Conditions Template?

Yes. There’s no specific formula you need to use to create your Terms and Conditions page, as this document isn’t technically required by law. Therefore, finding a template online that you want to customize is 100% okay. There are several free templates online that can get you started.

Writing Your Terms and Conditions: Hiring a Lawyer vs. Doing It Yourself

Terms and Conditions often contain some complex language that can be challenging for people to write themselves. This is where a lawyer experienced in writing these documents can come in handy. They know what clauses you should include for your business and can write them specifically for your business.

On the other hand, writing your Terms and Conditions yourself can save money and ensure that you get everything you want to be included. If possible, make some room in your budget to have a lawyer review the document before making it public.

Save Time Writing Your Business’s Policies

Writing your own policies for your business can save you time and money, especially when you choose a free service that does most of the legwork for you. Check out ShareThis’ Privacy Policy Generator to craft your privacy policy in minutes.

About ShareThis

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.

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