When starting a small business, sometimes the most important things get left behind due to a lack of time or money. One of the most common faux pars is to copy paste terms and conditions from another site and add them to yours. Not only is this breach of copyright but it is also very dangerous if you face problems with your clients in the future. This is why we approached the champion of commercial Solicitors, Abigail Sinden to post a guest blog for us on a recent event in the news, highlighting the importance of getting your T’s & C’s right, especially when touting for public works.
You may have heard that the government recently awarded Seaborne Freight a £13m contract to lay on extra ferry crossings in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The purpose of which is to apparently ease ‘severe congestion’.
However, Seaborne is facing criticism over its website terms and conditions (Ts and Cs). Allegedly, the ferry company has used Ts and Cs more suitable for an online, food takeaway service! Eyebrows were raised when it was noted that the ‘’placing an order’’ section of their Ts and Cs stated that it is the customer’s responsibility to ‘’thoroughly check the supplied goods before agreeing to pay for any meal/order.’’ Another clause under the same section read: ‘’Delivery charges are calculated per order…’’
The government responded to the uproar by stating the Ts and Cs were put up in error and were corrected with immediate effect. In addition, the Department for Transport said ‘‘before any contract was signed, due diligence on Seaborne Freight was carried out by officials at the Department for Transport…’’ No doubt, more raised eyebrows…
If you “takeaway” anything from this blog (boom boom) please make sure that you have the right Ts and Cs in place from the outset as they form the contract with your customers, and you may need to rely on them in the event of a dispute. Moreover, Ts and Cs should never be ’borrowed’ from another or competitor’s website. Not only are they unsuitable for your own business, but you could be facing a copyright infringement claim.
If you have any queries with regard to terms and conditions then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Abi Sinden, or call us on 01202 525333.
Abi is a company and commercial solicitor specialising in branding, e-commerce, IT contracts, terms and conditions of trade, data protection and buying and selling businesses.
Ellis Jones is a regional law firm with more than 160 staff including 14 partners. It has six offices across the south coast in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Christchurch, Ringwood, Swanage and Wimborne – as well as London – and offers a wide range of services to individuals and businesses.