The Terms and Conditions under which you trade are vital to the protection of your business.

They will include your liabilities for the goods and services you provide, how and when payment has to be made and rates of interest for late payment.

Whether for employees, suppliers, customers or landlords they can define responsibilities and liabilities so that everyone is clear how the business operates.

What are terms and conditions?

Theses could be defined as the road map governing the relationship between the buyer and seller in a contract for the sale of goods or the supply of services. It is in effect a document that sets out the rights and obligations of the buyer and seller.

Form

Terms of business could be simple (few pages) or complex (multiple pages) depending on the nature of the business or the goods and service being supplied.

Types

You will normally have terms and conditions governing

  1. A contract for the sale of goods
  2. A contract for the supply of services
  3. Business to Business transaction (B2B)
  4. Business to Consumer transaction (B2C)

Common Terms and Conditions

  1. Description of the goods or services
  2. Terms of Payment
  3. Terms of delivery
  4. When goods can be returned and applicable refund
  5. Termination and Notice period
  6. Governing Law

Importance of Terms and Conditions

  1. Clarity: The terms and conditions ensure clarity of each party’s rights and obligations. This in turn means that disputes are unlikely to arise because each party is clear about his rights/obligations.
  2. Protection: Written terms and conditions offer the business protection by providing for what is to happen in all the important aspects of the business.
  3. Ease of Enforcement: Robust terms and conditions make it easy to spot when a term/condition has been breached and for the breach to be enforced.
  4. Client satisfaction: Well written terms and conditions ensure that the Client is very clear about his rights and obligations from the very onset. The main cause of Client dissatisfaction is being stung by hidden or opaque terms and conditions.
  5. Cashflow: Written terms and conditions ensure regular cashflow for the business by setting out when payment is due and the consequences of defaulting in payment.
  6. Risk Allocation: Terms and conditions make it clear which parties bear what risk and in what circumstance the risk arises.

Important Considerations

The terms and considerations must reflect the following:

  1. Compliance with relevant legislation such Consumer Rights Act 2015 (see below) and The Provision of Services Regulations 2009.
  2. The Business Model– Online or in store.

It is therefore crucial that terms of business are ironed out before the business is up and running. Time spent preparing the terms and conditions is worth its weight in gold. This will ensure that avoidable disruptions to the business are averted and that in the long run the business reaches its full potential. It is also crucial that the terms and conditions are updated to reflect changes to the business and the market environment, particularly business legislation.

Consumer Rights Act 2015

This legislation (as of 1st October 2015) consolidated existing consumer legislation and introduced:

  • New implied terms.
  • New rules of unfair terms in consumer contracts.
  • New rules of supplying digital content.
  • Private Right of Action in Competition Law.

Please contact us to review your contracts and ensure that they are compliant with this legislation and that they also protect your business. For more information please click here.

At Thomas Dunton we have an outstanding Business Team with wide experience in all contractual matters.

Please contact us at 01689 822554 or email business@thomasdunton.co.uk

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