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What are Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions are a set of rules and guidelines that a user must agree to in order to use your website or mobile app. It acts as a legal contract between you (the company) who has the website or mobile app and the user who access your website and mobile app.

It’s up to you to set the rules and guidelines that the user must agree to. You can think of your Terms and Conditions agreement as the legal agreement where you maintain your rights to exclude users from your app in the event that they abuse your app, and where you maintain your legal rights against potential app abusers, and so on.

Terms and Conditions are also known as Terms of Service or Terms of Use.

This type of legal agreement can be used for both your website and your mobile app. It’s not required (it’s not recommended actually) to have separate Terms and Conditions agreements: one for your website and one for your mobile app.

Is a Terms and Conditions required?

A Terms and Conditions is not required and it’s not mandatory by law. Unlike Privacy Policies, there’s no law or regulation on Terms and Conditions.

But having a Terms and Conditions gives you the right to terminate the access of abusive users or to terminate the access to users who do not follow your rules and guidelines.

It’s extremely important to have this agreement if you operate a SaaS app.

Here are a few examples how this agreement can help you:

  • If users abuse your website or mobile app in any way, you can terminate their account. Your “Termination” clause can inform users that their accounts would be terminated if they abuse your service.
  • If users can post content on website or mobile app (create content and share it on your platform), you can remove any content they created if it infringes copyright.Your Terms and Conditions will inform users that they can only create and/or share content they own rights to.Similarly, if users can register for an account and choose an username, you can inform users that they are not allowed to choose usernames that may infringe trademarks, i.e. usernames like Google, Facebook, and so on.
  • If you sell products or services, you could cancel specific orders if a product price is incorrect. Your Terms and Conditions can include a clause to inform users that certain orders, at your sole discretion, can be canceled if the products ordered have incorrect prices due to various errors.
  • And many more examples.

While a Terms and Conditions isn’t required by law, other platforms (especially those that you can create an app for) will often ask you for this agreement.

For example, Facebook asks for a Terms and Conditions for your app. This is required for the “Terms of Service URL” field when you submit your Facebook app for review:

How to enforce Terms and Conditions

While creating and having a Terms and Conditions is important, it’s far more important to understand how you can make the Terms and Conditions enforceable.

You can enforce this legal agreement in various ways, but it always depends on your website or mobile app and what functionalities you offer to users:

  • Are you a simple, presentation-only website? In most simple websites or apps users can’t register or create content.
  • Are you a user-generated content website or app? In these websites and apps, users can register an account and create or share content.
  • And so on.

eBay uses two different notices to enforce their User Agreement page.

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