Skip to main content

Top Service News

Getting Your Business Terms and Conditions Right

Published on

The terms and conditions document for any business is the contract between the business and the customer for your supply of goods or services, and which regulates the business relationship.

The same document could be called many other names, such as “business terms”, “terms of sale” or “T&C’s”.

To many businesses, “terms and conditions” presents an image of lengthy, legal jargon. However, it is a crucial point of reference when issues arise.  Terms and conditions need to be valid in law and in court. 

Why use Terms and Conditions?

The purpose of a set of terms and conditions is to confirm what you have agreed, or to present the terms under which your business will accept business, including those that:

  • define the contract
  • set out business procedures
  • protect your business and your rights
  • limit your liability

If you are paid upfront, it still matters that you should have a record of your contract. Quite simply, that you have been paid for the goods or services already does not always protect your business from issues arising later. 

Litigation can be stressful and takes key focus away from the business. Defending or pursing a claim can also be costly. It is far easier to have good set of terms and conditions in place to help avoid problems and litigation. 

What should the Terms and Conditions document include?

A well-drawn terms and conditions document should include, amongst many others, the following main provisions.

  • Definition of the contract

Your terms should make clear what you are selling/supplying.  The goods and services could be described in detail or by reference to another document, such as a sales brochure or your business web site.

  • The price

This should include all variations and circumstances as well as provisions for increase.

  • Method and timing of payment acceptable to you

Your contract should include late payment provisions. In cases where an ongoing service is provided, these should include default and penalty provisions.

  • Provisions relating to carriage, delivery, risk and insurance

Every business selling goods should have their own terms to cover these areas of activity.

  • Limitation of your liability

These terms limit the damages that you have to pay to your customer if your goods or services fail.

  • Termination provisions

Some contracts are effectively terminated when the transaction is complete, but others can be ongoing or cover a period of time.  Consideration is needed to establish what can cause termination of the agreement/contract.  Situations regarding payment and delivery of goods can cause termination if this is contained within the terms and conditions.  

  • Data protection and privacy

The Data Protection Act imposes strict duties. It is necessary to tell customers how you intend to comply by telling them what data you hold and why.  If you trade online, you may refer to your privacy notice as displayed on your website.

It is essential that your customer agrees to the terms bound to them.  The terms and conditions can clearly state the situation the parties are bound by the terms of the contract. 

DIY Terms & Conditions

It is important to mention that a business should have its own unique set of terms and conditions. Each company has its own obligations, as well as where and how they do business. Copying terms meant for another business, or indeed attempting to draft their own without proper legal advice, is not advisable.

Why should you review your existing Terms and Conditions?

It is important to review your terms and conditions on a regular basis. An annual review from a specialist solicitor is advisable.  

There may have been a change within your business or the market in which you trade. There could even have been a change in the law. 

As a minimum, most SMEs should consider the following at each review:

  • Current customer base and Consumer Protection laws
  • Business structure and size, affecting the areas in which you operate, factoring in expansion or reduction of your business
  • Changes in relevant law and legislation
  • Implication of Brexit 
  • Implications of trade deals
  • Legal jurisdiction, where you trade geographically and who with
  • Protection from payment issues arising

Terms and conditions are a useful recovery method available to creditors/lenders, hence, the drafting and updating of terms and conditions needs careful consideration and covers all possible scenarios. 

We work with trusted partner Silverback Law, specialists in both debt recovery and commercial litigation, making them the ideal choice for you to set out strong terms and conditions.

By enlisting the help of professionals, you can gain absolute peace-of-mind that should the worst happen and a debtor default, both your investments and your business itself are protected. Silverback Law can oversee every stage of drafting/updating your terms and conditions so you can focus on day-to-day business, knowing that from a legal standpoint you’re covered and, if you need it, the debt recovery process will be simple. 

What makes Top Service Ltd different? 

As the only credit reference and debt recovery agency specific to the construction industry, we make it our mission to ensure our members receive the most up to date, credit information and company trading experiences which can make a real difference between company profit and painful write-offs. 

Are you struggling to recover the money you are owed?

Top Service members have access to an exclusive combination of no collection, no fee recovery services.

“We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about any bespoke changes you would like to make to our debt recovery procedures to fit the culture you have for maintaining customer relationships, whilst addressing the need to keep cash flow as fluid as possible for your business. Please contact our collections team to talk through any individual cases or to explore how else we can support you,” Emma Miller, Company Director Top service.

Contact our helpdesk team today on 01527 518800 to discuss how Top Service can support and help you protect your business.