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Should I Draft My Startup’s Terms and Conditions?


Terms and conditions are an essential component of any digital startup as they govern the relationship between your digital offering and client base. At Allied Legal, terms and conditions are one of the most common legal documents we draft. Despite their prominence on websites or as parts of digital products, terms and conditions can be an easy thing to get wrong, particularly if you are drafting them without the advice of a commercial lawyer. In fact, Forbes lists “not having a good terms of use agreement” for your startup’s website as amongst the top 15 legal mistakes your startup can make. Choosing whether to consult a commerical lawyer or draft your own document can be a difficult decision. At Allied Legal, we discuss the pros and cons below.

What are Terms and Conditions? 

Terms and conditions are a contractual agreement between a startup and the person accessing the startup’s offering. Your terms should outline issues such as product intellectual property, delivery, data protection, payment terms, refund policies, liability and copyright. Not only are they useful in protecting against external risk, but they are often required by law. For example, under Australian Consumer Law, if you are selling goods and services you will need to display terms and conditions. The primary use for terms and conditions is to protect your startup, by limiting your liability and obligations

Using Templates 

The primary issue with using templates is that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model and accessing the right legal document can take time and effort. Your startup’s T&Cs should be unique to your startup, outlining your ventures’ specific needs, from areas such as customer service to sales. Another issue we encounter is that startups replicate the terms and conditions of similar businesses. This can be effective as a general guideline; however, we recommend seeking the advice of a commerical lawyer to legitimise your legal document.

Final Thoughts 

The decision as to whether or not to draft your own terms and conditions, will often come down to the availability of your startup’s funds and resources. Writing your terms and conditions independently can be challenging as you will need to ensure that they are clear, lawful, and reasonable. Though it can feel like a lot of money to pay up front, particularly if you are in the founding stages of your venture, we recommend consulting a commerical lawyer, or purchasing a legitimate template that fits your startup’s requirements. A commerical lawyer will also be able to outline transparent and fair terms and conditions in line with relevant legal frameworks. Drafting efficient terms and conditions which contain the nuances and ‘finer details’ exclusive to your startup will save you time and money in the long run.

Need help? Contact us

Your startup’s terms and conditions are your legal armour, protecting against lawsuits, liability and disputes. Obtaining the right set of T&Cs is therefore essential for the smooth operation of your startup. At Allied Legal, we frequently draft terms and conditions that are unique to the specific needs of the startup. If you need help with your startup’s legal documents, give us a call on 03 8638 0888 or send us an email at hello@alliedlegal.com.au

You might also like our article Terms and Conditions – Legal Armour For Your Startup.   

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