T&Cs for selling online
T&Cs for selling goods online
The laws relating to the supply of goods to consumers via the internet are very different from those relating to the supply of goods to businesses. For this reason, we offer three different versions of our terms and conditions of sale template: one for consumers, one for businesses, and one covering both kinds of customer.
If the vast majority of your sales are to consumers, and only a few sales are to businesses, it may be preferable to use the templates specifically designed for consumers, rather than the one designed for a mixed customer base.
Key sections of the T&Cs of sale
Terms and conditions of sale should outline the order process on the website, for two related reasons. First, the point at which the contract of sale is entered into should be clear. You need to know when you are legally bound and when you are not. Second, the Ecommerce Regulations require that where contracts are concluded online, the customer should be able to access information about the technical steps that need to be followed to conclude the contract (unless "parties who are not consumers have agreed otherwise").
This section of the T&Cs specifies that advertisements for products are mere "invitations to treat" and not offers to contract. It goes on to suggest a specific shopping cart based process. You will need to adapt this to describe the process on your website.
Price and payment
This section highlights that prices on the website may be wrong, and that customer may also have to pay a delivery charge.
For most internet transactions, payment itself is simple: you pay, then you get the goods. However, there are a number of problems that may affect particular types of payment.
Charge-backs are one such problem. An optional clause is included to cover charge-backs. This provides that unjustified charge-backs may lead to additional liabilities, including an administration fee and any third party costs and expenses.
The terms of sale documents covering B2B transactions also include an account clause. This governs the opening and operation of customer accounts. Where an account becomes overdue, interest is payable either at a specified rate or under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.
A short-form delivery policy is included with the terms and conditions templates.
Under the terms of this policy, the supplier undertakes to use reasonable endeavours to deliver the products bought, on or before the date for delivery set out in the order confirmation. Where no date is set out in the order confirmation, then this can be within a specified period (e.g. 7 days) following the date of the order confirmation. The delivery date is not, however, guaranteed.
Risk and ownership
The risk and ownership clause included in the B2B documents states that products are at the customers risk from the time of delivery, and that ownership passes to the customer upon the later of delivery and receipt of all sums due in respect of the products.
The returns policy sections in each of the terms and conditions of sale templates are designed to help online retailers meet the minimum statutory requirements in relation to the sale of products. The requirements are different for business customers and consumers. Accordingly, the policy in the terms of sale for consumers is quite different from the policy in the terms of sale for businesses. The terms of sale covering both consumers and businesses includes two different policies, one for each class of customer.