Practical Ecommerce

Legal: ‘Terms and Conditions’ Protect Your Online Business

So you have your ecommerce website up and running, and you wonder if you need any specific terms and conditions to govern transactions on your site. The answer is yes. Because if a problem should arise, having terms and conditions may help resolve that problem in your favor.

Prior to the customer purchasing anything from you, make sure they check a box agreeing to the terms and conditions. This will bind the customer to any reasonable and legal terms. The purpose isn’t to trap or trick a customer but rather to enable both the customer and company to agree in advantage to terms.

The following are examples of the categories (with suggested text) you should consider when drafting terms and conditions. These examples demonstrate the usual legal language for website terms and conditions. You may not need all of them for your particular website and in some instances you may wish to add more categories or add more information per category.

Use of the Website—By accessing the website, you warrant and represent to the website owner that you are legally entitled to do so and to make use of information made available via the website.

Trademarks—The trademarks, names, logos and service marks (collectively “trademarks”) displayed on this website are registered and unregistered trademarks of the website owner. Nothing contained on this website should be construed as granting any license or right to use any trademark without the prior written permission of the website owner.

External links—External links may be provided for your convenience, but they are beyond the control of the website owner and no representation is made as to their content. Use or reliance on any external links and the content thereon provided is at your own risk.

Warranties—The website owner makes no warranties, representations, statements or guarantees (whether express, implied in law or residual) regarding the website.

Disclaimer of liability—The website owner shall not be responsible for and disclaims all liability for any loss, liability, damage (whether direct, indirect or consequential), personal injury or expense of any nature whatsoever which may be suffered by you or any third party (including your company), as a result of or which may be attributable, directly or indirectly, to your access and use of the website, any information contained on the website, your or your company’s personal information or material and information transmitted over our system. In particular, neither the website owner nor any third party or data or content provider shall be liable in any way to you or to any other person, firm or corporation whatsoever for any loss, liability, damage (whether direct or consequential), personal injury or expense of any nature whatsoever arising from any delays, inaccuracies, errors in, or omission of any share price information or the transmission thereof, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon or occasioned thereby or by reason of non-performance or interruption, or termination thereof.

Conflict of terms—If there is a conflict or contradiction between the provisions of these website terms and conditions and any other relevant terms and conditions, policies or notices, the other relevant terms and conditions, policies or notices which relate specifically to a particular section or module of the website shall prevail in respect of your use of the relevant section or module of the website.

Severability—Any provision of any relevant terms and conditions, policies and notices, which is or becomes unenforceable in any jurisdiction, whether due to being void, invalidity, illegality, unlawfulness or for any reason whatever, shall, in such jurisdiction only and only to the extent that it is so unenforceable, be treated as void and the remaining provisions of any relevant terms and conditions, policies and notices shall remain in full force and effect.

Applicable laws (choice of venue and forum)—Use of this website shall in all respects be governed by the laws of the state of [insert your state], U.S., regardless of the laws that might be applicable under principles of conflicts of law. The parties agree that the [insert state] courts located in [insert county] county, [insert state], shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all controversies arising under this agreement and agree that venue is proper in those courts.

Peter LaSorsa

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  1. MCCruiserUSA November 30, 2008 Reply


    I am a fledgling internet marketer and found this article to be very informative, I will take many of your suggestions under serious consideration.

    Thank you sir.


  2. wickerwoman December 9, 2008 Reply

    Wow! I was just about to unsubscribe to the newsletter thinking I didn’t really need the articles and tips about websites that you offer and was making a quick run-through of the Articles when I saw this one on Legal: Terms and Conditions. Boy, am I ever glad I stopped to read this one! Just recently I revised my own Terms and Conditions on my site, but need to revise them again to include the ones here in Peter LaSorsa’s article. Needless to say, I will NOT unsubscribe and will instead make a thorough search of all the articles and the rest of the Practical eCommerce site instead! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    The Wicker Woman-Cathryn Peters

  3. Sergey Kemskiy January 19, 2013 Reply

    Businessmen of USA need quality legal defense and complete information on law issues. That is why I like to read your articles and recommend them to businessmen. Would you like to publish some you works in a section of business law articles on Attorney Online There is also a possibility to post to Attorney Blog, publish legal news and submit contacts of lawyers to Attorney Directory.

  4. syed January 1, 2014 Reply

    Hello sir,

    I was thinnking about adopting this whole Term and condition for my shopping site ..

    Do you think should i include my payment and Return policy in that too?

  5. Eric January 10, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for this post of terms and conditions for my website. I was working on updating and this article was a HUGE HELP! Really can not thank you enough, this was spot on. Do you have any infor on Terms of Service Pages? Thanks in advance

  6. PetsEverythingDotCom March 24, 2014 Reply

    Great article, thank you. We are about to launch an e-comm site ( ) and we will use this as our starting point.

  7. Jan Williams December 4, 2015 Reply

    We don’t run an online store, but we offer financial and credit advice so I want us to be protected from people who may think we offer “legal” advice, which we do not. Any specific verbage we should be using for something like that? Thanks.


  8. eric November 20, 2016 Reply

    The broad “Warranty” disclaimer would seem to undermine the value, quality, etc… of any product sold through a website that used this language.