It’s a daily occurrence at Glenville Walker and Partners where we work with business owners with very real issues that highlight just how important it is to review your terms and conditions. Yes, the Terms and Conditions, that little link at the bottom of your website or the document you attach to your orders that you barely think about, and that most people often either ignore or just click through without reading to get on with the “real” business. Those Terms and Conditions.
As your business grows and develops, some of your terms and conditions may no longer be fit for purpose. It is important to regularly review them to make sure they are still relevant for your business.
As specialist legal advisors we regularly get asked the following question by clients…at what point is the contract for the goods or services complete?
A common chain of events can go something like this…
The customer sees the goods or service offered on your website, they place an order, you confirm the order, there is a delivery, they pay. Ok, there may be variations, but that is pretty standard.
Here’s a quick pop quiz:
Firstly, when do customers get and accept your Terms and Conditions?
As a firm of legal advisors, we would suggest that your customer should get your Ts & Cs even before they make their order perhaps as part of the order process, and make sure that the customer must DO something to accept the Ts & Cs, even if it is just ticking a box saying that they accept them.
Secondly, when is the contract formed?
Well, that depends on the nature of your Ts & Cs and here’s why that could be an issue.
Imagine your customer makes the order and you confirm the order, but there is a period of time before delivery and payment. There is the possibility that the cost of goods could change between the order and delivery. Perhaps global issues such as the war in Ukraine, Brexit, or the cost-of-living crisis, or something else that doesn’t make it impossible for you to deliver (force majeure) but dramatically changes the cost to you. As a business owner are you able to change the price or alter the terms if external environmental factors change. This is all dependent on when the contract is formed either when you accept the offer, when you invoice or upon delivery.
These issues, as well as many other issues get carved out in your terms and conditions, that document that you rarely think about which forms the backbone of every transaction and can protect your company.
When was the last time you reviewed your Terms and Conditions?
If you would like any help and advice on your terms and conditions, please contact our specialist corporate and commercial team on 0151 305 9650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is not intended to be interpreted as advice.