Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; buyer subscribes for access
- Attorney approved
- Plain English makes editing easy
- Guidance notes included
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About this terms and conditions document
Your website is a marketplace, where your sellers advertise and offer goods for sale to your buyers. You may have negotiated special deals with your sellers. Your buyers must subscribe to your site to take advantage. This website terms and conditions template sets out the subscription process and the relationship between your business and buyers who use your website to buy. The goods bought and sold could be anything. They may be ordered via computer, smartphone, tablet or any other mobile device.
We have provided for basic contract procedures, but delivery information must come from the seller as it will not be the same for a tee shirt as for an item of industrial plant.
You might specialise in one product, or you could sell a wide range of products. You do not need to have more than one seller client but we assume that you will. Most of your sellers probably use your services because they do not have an internet facility for taking money or because your marketing service is better than they could achieve. You are simply marketing and collecting money.
Because each marketplace website has its own business model, we provide separate agreements for terms with buyers and sellers. You should therefore pair this document with the most suitable seller side marketplace T&C document we offer.
Note that we do not provide a seller side document that relates specifically to a membership site because the seller is selling his services no differently because you have set up special deals with his clients. See below.
Is this template suitable for your website?
This template should be used for a site that creates a marketplace for physical goods where the opportunity to buy is limited to subscribers. If you recognise your business model from the description below then the template should be suitable.
Your site might:
- offer goods for sale anywhere in the World;
- provide payment facilities, collect taxes, fees, payment and reimburse the seller the net sales value;
- have sellers that pay you either by commission or by a transaction fee;
- either allow sellers to upload their own product pages or product advertisements OR instruct you to do that for them;
- provide a marketing service to sellers;
- have either regular sellers (for example, ones that operate their business from your site), or allow one-off sales;
- require buyers to join a membership programme (paid or free) to be able to access the market;
- provide functionality that allows buyers to interact with sellers or with other site visitors. For example, you may provide for product reviews, feedback, forums, or questions to sellers;
- The type of products sold is not important to this document provided the product is not a service or a downloaded good. Your site could connect buyers and sellers of small items such as mobile phones or wine, or larger items such as cars.
Both buyers and sellers could be businesses or individuals. Users of your website could be frequent or one-off.
The benefit of clear terms and conditions
Website terms and conditions are probably the best example of a legal document where use of plain language strengthens the legal effect of the document. If a dispute should arise, it would be hard for a user of your site to claim that he did not understand, even if English is not his first language.
Using this document on your website will help you to:
- set out clearly how your business works and how buyers should act and behave;
- ensure that sellers and buyers receive the quality of service that you aim to provide;
- present a professional image of your business. Our use of plain language helps ensure that sellers do not feel intimidated by overly formal or legalistic language;
- prevent misunderstandings and make solving disputes easier;
- protect your website from misuse (we include paragraphs that set out exactly how buyers can interact with your website, and what they cannot do);
- protect your business from complaints about content that your buyers posted - particularly important if buyers can post product information or interact with sellers without you actively monitoring every post or message.
- If your site creates a marketplace for services, not for products, see Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for services; buyer subscribes for access.
- If there are no restrictions on membership before purchase, then Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; buyer side should be suitable.
- The complementary template that provides terms for sellers can be found at Website terms and conditions template: marketplace: goods: seller side.
If you are in any doubt as to which T&C template you should choose, please contact us.
The law in this document
The law in these T&C is largely common law that deals with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, price and payment, provision of service, liabilities and risk. By and large, you can set the terms you want, particularly the commercial ones. The document should be edited so that it reflects exactly how your business works. Our guidance notes will tell you what you can change safely, and what we don't advise changing.
This template allows you to comply with the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2002. The Consumer Protection Act 2008 and other consumer protection legislation allowing your sellers to sell to businesses or consumers.
Contents of this terms and conditions
Because buyers are likely to contribute content to your site (such as product reviews, forum posts and comments) we have included a large menu of provisions relating to user contributed content within the sections that form an Acceptable Use Policy.
- Basis of contract between your business and the buyer
- Responsibility of the buyer to provide accurate personal information to you
- The buying and payment procedure
- Membership requirements and provision
- Optional guarantee by you
- Extensive options for re-assurance to customers that you will take care of data
- Option for consumer rights information
- Consumer protection
- Defects and returns
- Handling buyer’s personal data, credit card and content uploaded or posted
- Very extensive options as to what a buyer may or may not do on your website.
- Removal of offensive content
- Protection of copyright and other intellectual property rights
- Termination of membership
- Interruption to service
- Disclaimers and limitation of liability
- Miscellaneous legal matters to protect your business
- Over 3,500 words of drafting notes to help you
This document was written by an attorney for Net Lawman. It complies with current South African law.
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