Understanding Terms and Conditions: What You’ve Always Wanted To Know

If you are engaged in business, it is essential that you have properly drafted terms and conditions to protect your interests.

Why are terms and conditions important?

We are regularly contacted by clients who have either not received payment for goods or services or have otherwise suffered a loss due to their client or customer not playing fair.

By properly describing contacting parties’ responsibilities, terms and conditions can either prevent disputes or if an issue does arise set out an agreed dispute resolution mechanism.

Finally, if a debtor is withholding payment incorporating an interest clause will allow you to charge interest until payment is made in full. Without an interest clause agreed before you enter into a contract with another party you cannot simply charge interest on a late payment.

Why are terms and conditions so long?

It is often required to include clauses dealing with payment terms, intellectual property rights, descriptions of services to be provided, dispute resolution clauses, delivery terms, confidentiality… to name a few.

If a service to be provided is relatively simple, terms and conditions can be short. However, by the time all of the required clauses are added a document can end up a bit longer than what you would like. We are able to advise you on which terms are really required and which can be removed.

Are terms and conditions always difficult to understand?

They certainly can be. Traditional legal English can be difficult to understand for non-lawyers (and lawyers too!). Herewith, henceforth and shall are all words that may appeal to lawyers but not to their clients.

We always endeavour to use simple English that can be picked up and understood by anyone. If terms and conditions are read and understood before parties enter into a contract there is much less of a chance of problems in future.

Where to from here?

If you have read this far perhaps you are currently engaged in business and either need entirely new terms and conditions drafted or your existing terms reviewed. If you are starting up a new business from scratch we can discuss drafting new terms.

We are experienced in drafting terms and conditions so can prepare the terms you require cost-effectively and accurately.

Please contact me if you require assistance with terms and conditions.

Will Elder

Will Elder

Will has developed a broad commercial practice in which he advises clients on business acquisition and sale, commercial agreements, commercial and retail leasing, and commercial litigation. Learn more about Will's legal experience.