The nature of the terms and conditions on which you do business with your clients and your suppliers governs the relationship between you and those parties.
They also set a tone of voice to the outside world of how you do business. Plain English tends to be well received.
They can vary tremendously depending on whether you are buying or selling goods or services, whether you trade over the internet and the nature of the goods and/or services you are providing or receiving.
Terms and conditions set out the obligations and responsibilities of the parties and typically deal with:
- When you are due to be paid or pay
- Whether you can charge or be charged interest for late payment
- When, where and how goods or services are required to be delivered
- Who is responsible for the insurance of goods in transit
- Who is responsible for delivery or collection and the associated costs
- Limitation of liability
- How the contract can be terminated and who has the right to terminate
There are ways in which terms and conditions can be drafted to limit the liability of your business and the extent to which this is possible will depend on a number of factors. Firstly whether you are dealing with consumers or whether you are dealing business to business and whether you are negotiating terms with a specific client or supplier or are seeking to apply terms and conditions generally.
If terms and conditions are not correctly drafted or are not in place at all and a dispute arises between the parties, various common law and statutory rules will apply which can often only be interpreted by court of law depending on the exact circumstances in play. The cost of dealing with a dispute in this way would very quickly outweigh the cost of putting clear terms and conditions in place at the outset.
If you would like advice on drafting terms and conditions that suit your business or understanding your obligations under another party’s terms and conditions that you are being asked to enter into, please contact me.
Legal Services for Business provides advice on company law to businesses across London, Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire. My details are listed below should you wish to contact me.