Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; accessed through a site or by app; seller side
- Attorney approved
- Plain English makes editing easy
- Guidance notes included
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About this terms and conditions document
Your website is an interface for buyers and sellers of any goods. Goods may be ordered via a smartphone, tablet or any other mobile device. You own or have a licence to use a software “app” which provides the interface facility.
This website terms and conditions template sets out the relationship between your business and merchants who use your website to sell. The goods bought and sold could be anything, to any person, consumer or business. We have provided for basic contract procedures, but delivery information must come from the sellers as it will not be the same for a tee shirt as for an item of industrial plant.
Merchants upload necessary information to your site or complete your pre-set data entry boxes. Any other arrangement could be accommodated provided it is via Internet or other electronic medium.
We have provided for basic contract procedures, but information on how the service is provided must come from the providers as it will differ in every case.
You might specialise in one product (the template document assumes tee shirts), 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.
This document serves two purposes:
- First it protects you in law from a huge array of potential problems arising from disputes between your merchants and their clients.
- Secondly, it enables you to set out how your website works to benefit a merchant. It is assumed that you will insist on some standard terms of sale by all merchants so that a buyer can return to your site later and buy from a different merchant without the terms being markedly different.
It is assumed that both merchants and their customers will have access to your website for one or more reasons.
Examples reasons are:
- to upload their own marketing text and images;
- to place adverts;
- to contribute to forums;
- to communicate with each other;
- to resolve disputes;
- to give testimonials;
- to communicate with you.
We have therefore provided very wide ranging protection. This will be more than you need, but can be edited easily by deletion, as can any text in Net Lawman document.
Because each market place 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. See below.
Is this template suitable for your website?
This template is for any website that creates a marketplace where goods are sold to either consumers or to businesses. It does not matter what type of goods that may be.
This template suits a site that:
- sells goods anywhere in the World;
- connects buyers with sellers;
- provides payment facilities, collect taxes and fees and pays over to the seller the net sales value;
- has sellers that pay you either by commission or by a transaction fee;
- either allows sellers to upload their own product pages or product advertisements OR instructs you to do that for them;
- provides a marketing service to sellers;
- has either regular sellers who operate their business from your site continuously, or allows one-off sales.
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 sellers 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 sellers 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.
This document provides only the terms between you and your sellers. You will need a matching document that regulates the relationship with buyers.
Provisions you will need for buyers vary more than those for sellers. So while this document covers any type of seller, we offer several “buyer side” versions. The most appropriate “twin” for this document is Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; accessed through a site or by app; buyer 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, delivery, liabilities and risk. By and large, you can set the terms you want, to match your business model. The document can be edited easily 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 2002the Consumer Protection Act 2008, and other consumer protection legislation allowing your sellers to sell to businesses or consumers.
Contents of this terms and conditions
This document includes terms relating to:
- Definitions and interpretation
- Basis of contract between your business and the buyer
- Sellers’ licence and permission for you to handle their material
- Conditions of product placement
- The buying procedure
- Selling procedure
- Goods returned
- Payment for sales made
- Product warranties
- Indemnity by seller
- Very extensive options as to what a buyer may or may not do on your website.
- Removal of offensive content
- Website security
- Protection of copyright and other intellectual property rights
- Interruption to service
- Disclaimers and limitation of liability
- Miscellaneous legal matters to protect your business
Over 3,000 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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