5 things you need to know about Terms & Conditions

1. What are standard terms and conditions and how do you incorporate them into an agreement?

Standard terms and conditions form the contract between your business and your customers. It is important that written terms set out the key aspects of the contract between the parties including what goods or services are being provided by the contract, the consideration payable and terms on which it is to be paid, each party’s obligations, delivery and termination rights. In business to business transactions it is important that one party’s standard terms and conditions govern the contract and to do so they must be brought to the attention of the other party. You should give reasonable notice of the standard terms and conditions to the other party by providing them to the other party as soon as possible and before the contract is agreed between the parties.

Terms And Conditions Business Law Contract

2. Are standard terms and conditions suitable for my business?

The use of standard terms and conditions will not always be the most suitable means by which you form a contract. Standard terms and conditions may not be appropriate where the commercial negotiations between the parties are complex and standard terms and conditions will not be specific enough to adequately reflect the commercial terms and the risk involved in the relevant contractual arrangement, or where you are dealing with another business which is determined to have its own terms and conditions govern the contract.


3. What do my terms and conditions need to say?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to standard terms and conditions and their content must be considered carefully. Standard terms and conditions should be specific to your business and mirror your business practices and processes. Some of the points to think about including in your standard terms and conditions are: what is your preferred ordering process? What will the customer pay for the goods/services? How will the goods/services be delivered to the customer? When does ownership of goods pass to the customer? Are there any additional or industry specific criteria which have to be referred to in the terms and conditions? What rights do you wish to have in order to bring the contract to an end? And what is to happen in the event of a termination of the contract?

4. Is your customer a business or a consumer? How do you sell to them?

Businesses sell to both other businesses (known as B2B) and to the general public. When selling to the general public the law deems such persons to be consumers. Consumers have extended rights over and above businesses and therefore your terms and conditions need to be compliant with the legislation. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into effect on 1 October 2015 and this legislation sets out the rights of consumers when purchasing goods or services. In the event that you sell at a distance, for example online via a website, by mail order or by phone then your business must be compliant with the distance selling aspects of the Consumer Rights legislation. Certain key aspects of distance selling are that customers must be provided with specific information before and after they place an order, and that they have a right to cancel their order (save for certain items), also known as a ‘cooling-off period’ which operates for a period of 14 days.


5. Is your customer a business or a consumer? How do you sell to them?

Businesses sell to both other businesses (known as B2B) and to the general public. When selling to the general public the law deems such persons to be consumers. Consumers have extended rights over and above businesses and therefore your terms and conditions need to be compliant with the legislation. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into effect on 1 October 2015 and this legislation sets out the rights of consumers when purchasing goods or services. In the event that you sell at a distance, for example online via a website, by mail order or by phone then your business must be compliant with the distance selling aspects of the Consumer Rights legislation. Certain key aspects of distance selling are that customers must be provided with specific information before and after they place an order, and that they have a right to cancel their order (save for certain items), also known as a ‘cooling-off period’ which operates for a period of 14 days.

Get in touch

If you would like to find out more about the issues raised in this article, please get in touch.