The words "review" and "reviews" are amongst the most used keywords in Google searches, and with good reason: the web is a great place for finding out what others think of places, events, shows, products, services, and indeed anything that can scored, recommended, criticised or otherwise rated. Many websites cater for the public's appetite for writing and reading reviews. Some of these websites offer reviews as an extra, whilst others are built around reviews. This template website T&Cs document has been designed for the latter type of website.
The template is based on our generic "premium" website T&Cs, but includes a set of provisions specific to review-based websites. It caters for both user reviews and expert reviews that have been commissioned by the website operator. If a website only offers user reviews then the provision relating to expert reviews can easily be omitted. Similarly, if a website only offers expert reviews, the user review provisions can be deleted.
Optional provisions which may relate to both types of review provide that: (i) reviewers are independent and reviews may not represent the opinions of the website operator; (ii) users acknowledge that reviews may be dated, biased, partial, misleading or inaccurate; and (iii) users should not rely upon reviews, and should conduct independent research before deciding upon a purchase or other course of action.
There is a general exclusion of liability in relation to any loss or damage that may arise out of reliance upon a review.
A special provision provides that users acknowledge that reviews posted by others may be critical or defamatory of them, and that they will not hold the website operator liable in respect of such reviews. This provision will not be suitable for all websites.
Expert reviews are assumed to be subject to a separate contract. See our website contributor agreement templates for a suitable base document.
There are quite detailed rules in the document concerning user reviews, although stating these rules is easier than enforcing them. For example, there is a general requirement that reviews be honest and reasonable, and a specific requirement that users refrain from posting reviews in respect of any matter in which they have a financial interest.
User review content is licensed to the website operator under the general user content licensing provision (which also covers, for example, blog comments). Similarly, the user warranties and representations relating to general content apply to user reviews. An optional waiver of the moral right of paternity (ie attribution) in relation to user reviews is also included.