20/09/11

By Melanie Dawson, Marketing Co-ordinator, Sage UK Ltd

Ok, well as we all know legal is a minefield, and although I couldn’t possibly cover all aspects to include within your business T&C’s, hopefully, I can give you a few pointers in the right direction.

However, needless to say that, if you want to stay on the right side of the law and have a strong stand point when it comes to court, then, having a solicitor to draft your company T&C’s is the way to go.

Here are a couple of things you’ll need to consider when drafting your T&C’s.

Your customer T&C’s should be on the back of your invoice right? ...Wrong! Your customer needs to be well aware of your T&C’s before they buy your service/product. There’s no harm in reiterating them on the back of your invoice, but you must ensure they are made fully available before purchase. For example, you could host them on your website, have a read T&C’s tick box before your customer purchases or place them on the back of their sales order.

Here’s some other things you’ll need to bear in mind:

1)Make sure you set your customer’s expectations and provide a specific description of the goods or services to be provided and what your service or product does.;

2)Clearly state your price and payment terms;

3)Indicate the length of the contract. These are particularly relevant if you’re providing a service e.g. a monthly or yearly service contract;

4)Set out whether you have any flexibility in the timescales for delivering the product or service;

5)Include your level of liability. You can call this “responsibility”- i.e. what if something goes wrong? What will you, and will not accept responsibility for, in terms of payment/ re-imbursement? Do you need you customer to tell you of a problem within say 14 days of delivery (rather than waiting until your invoice is due). In certain circumstances you cannot exclude liability;

6)Ownership of Intellectual Property. Many T&Cs contain clauses stating who owns the intellectual property rights in any products or services delivered. You should pay particular attention to who owns the intellectual property if the contract is for the creation of a product;

7)If you are dealing with commercially sensitive information you could include a confidentiality clause to protect confidential information by identifying the information and saying when, and in what circumstances, it can be disclosed;

8)Data protection. You could refer to your privacy policy, but you need to tell the customer exactly what you’re going to do with their data.

9)Your T&Cs should set out the circumstances in which you and/ or your customer can terminate the contract

10)It is common for a business to set out warranties (contractual promises) it is prepared to give about it’s product or services. Watch out though, as warranties give your customer the contractual right to sue for damages, if you breach the warranty.

11)A Force Majeure clause should cover you when it is not possible to provide the products or services and it is not your fault. For example, if there is a natural disaster or civil unrest.

12)There should be an applicable law clause indicating which law governs the contract. For example, 'This contract shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England'.

As stated above, this blog only covers a snippet of advice and there are lots of other clauses which businesses can include within their T&C’s.

If you need software which includes an invoicing facility for your business, then our Sage Instant Accounts or Sage 50 Accounts software range can help.

As always with legal, there’s always a disclaimer, and here’s ours for the above article:

Disclaimer

Please note that this article contains general information only. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter. No liability is accepted in connection with this article or if any reliance is placed on it..

Don’t forget to come along to Sage World – free business event 12th-13th October – visit the Sage World website here


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