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Mastering Terms, Conditions and Privacy Policies

Posted by Deepshikha Shukla

February 3, 2021    |     6-minute read (1041 words)

One of the essential steps to take when launching a website, a mobile app or an online service is creating terms and conditions and privacy policy agreements. Since they have different purposes privacy policy protects your users, while terms and conditions protect your business and limit liability keep these agreements separate.

Ensure that the agreements are clear, concise and written in simple language so that your users can understand, comprehend and retain the information very well. To properly draft these legal documents, entrepreneurs must know why they need them and what they should include.

Why You Need to Draft a Privacy Policy 

Entrepreneurs can use privacy policies to inform their users about the collection, storage, sharing and use of their personal information. The personal information can include your users' names, addresses, email addresses, contact numbers, IP addresses, dates of birth, credit card information, license numbers and insurance information. Here is why you need a privacy policy agreement.

  • Required by Law If you collect and process your customers' personal information, a privacy policy is required by law. If you want to update your privacy policies, then inform your users in advance to help them make informed decisions about using your products or services. 
  • Inform Users A privacy policy agreement informs users how and why you collect their personal information, what you use it for, how you secure it, and where it is stored. It also informs users what information you'll collect and whether you'll share it with third parties. Each policy can have different reasons for collecting the users' information, such as internal recordkeeping, delivering the goods or sending updates about new products or services. 
  • To Maintain Compliance There are several international laws that your privacy policy agreement should comply with, according to your business location. Companies that deal in financial products and services or sensitive information should also take appropriate measures to keep their customers' personal information safe.
  • Build Trust A policy agreement shows your website or mobile app users that they can trust you, and that you can handle their information with the utmost care. Thus, you can build trust with users and inspire their loyalty. You still need a privacy policy even if you do not collect data, because you need to inform your users that they can feel safe and secure while using your services.

What a Privacy Policy Should Include

Website or application owners must consider all federal, state and local laws to determine how they can appropriately handle users’ sensitive information. Local and state laws may vary by location, so it’s wise to consult legal counsel before sharing and disposal of customers' information. Privacy policies usually consist of the following elements:

  1. Data Collection: Outline what data is collected and how you will process it on your webpage.
  2. Data Security: Include the measures you’ll take to ensure consumers’ information is secure and protect their data.
  3. Personal Information: Mention the types of personal information that your website collects and processes to identify users.
  4. Cookies: Explain how your website will use cookies, a small file that tracks a user's activity.
  5. Data Protection Rights: Inform your users about their data protection rights.
  6. Non-Personal Information: If you're collecting non-personal information of your users, such as their zip codes, pages they visit on your website and web browsers/devices they are using to visit your site, then include it in your privacy agreement.

Reason for Having a Terms and Conditions Agreement

The terms and conditions (T&C) agreement is a legal document that sets out the rules, guidelines and requirements that need to be followed by your users and customers when using your website, app or service. The agreement also acts as a contract between service providers and their clients or people who use their service.

A T&C agreement is also known as a service level agreement where the service provider and the service user agree with a few aspects of the services, such as quality, responsibilities and availability. You need to have a T&C agreement due to the following reasons:

  • Protects Your Company Against Legal Claims A T&C agreement protects your company against any potential legal claims by your website visitors or mobile app users, thus limiting your company's legal liability. 
  • Required by Law A T&C document is required by law, so you should provide it to users through your website or mobile app.
  • Enforce Appropriate Use of a Website or an App With this agreement, you can inform your users what is required from them when using your site. If you plan on changing anything in your T&C agreement, notify your users about the potential modifications in advance.
  • Build Credibility A T&C document enables you to build credibility and trust with your users.

What You Should Cover in Your T&C Agreement

In an online business, it’s essential to publish your T&C agreement on the company’s website. For drafting the right terms of services, entrepreneurs can refer to a professional attorney or consulting firm to obtain legal advice. Following are a few things that you must include in your T&C agreement:

  1. Governing Law Clause: Include governing laws of the country and state that you operate in your T&C agreement.
  2. Users Rights and Responsibilities: Include the rules governing the use of your websites, such as refund policy, billing and subscription policies, minimum age requirements, order cancellation policy and potential warranties on your products or services.
  3. Confidentiality Clause: This clause states that the collected information via the website will not be disclosed to any third parties unless permitted.
  4. Security: Mention the different forms of security measures you've implemented on your website.
  5. Termination Clause: This outlines the conditions of termination of an agreement between a service provider and the user.
  6. Copyright Notice: It is vital to protect your intellectual property, such as your logo, unique web or mobile app design and the full content of your website. Therefore, you must include a copyright notice in your terms and conditions.
  7. A Disclaimer Notice: This explains what you will do if a user doesn't abide by your rules and guidelines or abuses your website or mobile app.

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