Terms and Conditions – Why you should have them!
It is always surprising how many businesses either operate without a written contract and rely on a verbal agreement or the old fashioned gentleman’s handshake. Standard terms and conditions (“T&Cs”) are the legal basis on which business transactions are carried out. Well drafted T&Cs that suit your business needs can be used for many similar transactions and as such you can expect to receive the following benefits:-
- Legal certainty: by incorporating your standard T&Cs, both parties to a transaction will be fully aware of the agreement. Therefore, potential breaches are easily identifiable and the need for costly court proceedings to ascertain the guilty party is unlikely. Also, each party’s expectations can be managed from the outset by specifying realistic timeframes within the T&Cs.
- Less likelihood of disputes and misunderstandings: as all parties will be aware of the main legal points (price, delivery and payment) there is less chance of legal and administrative costs in order to rectify any issues. Furthermore, T&Cs can deal with limiting/excluding liability, force majeure and the passing of title (ownership) which a lay person may not consider.
3. Standardised procedures: complaints and refunds/returns procedures can be standardised and explained in the T&Cs. With well trained staff, they are able to implement T&Cs when entering into transactions without the need to refer to management. This reduces wasted time and helps provide better customer service. After all, time is money!
- Compliance with the law: T&Cs enable you to state the jurisdiction to which the terms and conditions will be governed. You can also refer to specific legislation relevant to your business, for example data protection where your business stores personal information for your customer. There are also complex rules for limiting/excluding liability for defects and non-performance of obligations and these can be included in your T&Cs.
- Favourable terms: T&Cs will be drafted to benefit your business needs rather than your customers. However, you must ensure your T&Cs have been accepted by your customer prior to commencing work. There are complex ‘offer and acceptance’ rules in existence which can affect whose T&Cs are actually in force.
If you do not have standard T&Cs, or do but feel they need updating, our Commercial Team is ready to work with you in order to provide legally sound T&Cs that are suitable for your business.