Why your website needs Terms of Service

website terms of service

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Most people think of Terms of Service (sometimes called Terms and Conditions or Terms of Use) as a very long statement full of legalese that is accessible only for companies such as Apple or Amazon that have the ability to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees. Terms of Service is an excellent way to protect a website and your business, but, as a small business owner, do you really need it? And, if you do really need it, can you afford it?

The fact is, in today’s connected world, Terms of Service is not just for the big companies – small businesses need it too and can obtain it at a reasonable price with a minimal investment of time. But, before we get to all of that, what is Terms of Service and why does your small business need it?

A Terms of Service (also called Terms and Conditions) is a set of rules that a user must agree to follow in order to use your website. Think of it as “take your muddy shoes off before you go into my carpeted living room” kind of rules but for your website. If you sell things on your website, Terms of Service may mean “this is our refund policy” or, if you have links to social media on your website, the Terms of Service may mean, “it is your responsibility to use social media wisely and I’m not liable for what you do on social media even if you got there through my website.”

What is the difference between Terms of Service and a Privacy Policy?

A Privacy Policy lays out what information you collect via your website, what you do with that information and who  you share it with. A Privacy Policy is a document to inform the consumer regarding their information and their rights as they relate to that data. Terms of Service informs the user of the rules of using your website.

Why do you need Terms of Service for your small business website?

Where can you find a good Terms of Service? As a small business, your next question may be, “this all sounds great but where I can get these if I don’t want to engage a lawyer?” Having a lawyer write your Terms of Service sounds great but, the truth is, it just may not be feasible for some small businesses. We hope that you check out Termageddon – a generator of Terms of Service that automatically updates them whenever the laws change. At a much lower cost than an attorney ($99/year), you can generate Terms of Service that are customized for how you do business and be protected.

Donata Kalnenaite
Termageddon, LLC

About the Author

Donata is the President of Termageddon and the engineer behind the policy questions and text. She is a licensed attorney and a certified information privacy professional. She often volunteers at the Illinois State Bar Association holding courses on the General Data Protection Regulation where she teaches other attorneys on the importance of privacy and what Privacy Policies should contain. In her free time, Donata enjoys bee keeping, hunting for morel mushrooms and walks with her fiancé and two dogs.

Disclaimers and Disclosures: This post should not be taken as legal advice. JVM does utilize Termageddon to help some of their clients obtain a privacy policy for their website.

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