Terms and Conditions acceptance is an important step in making your Ts & Cs legally binding, yet in many cases businesses of all kinds overlook the need to prove that the customer has accepted their terms.
But if the Ts & Cs are published on the website itself, it may be impossible to read them without remaining on the site – creating a paradox of proof.
Generally speaking, in such cases, the idea is that you remain on the site long enough to read the Ts & Cs, but if you continue browsing without reading them first, you clearly do so at your own risk.
In other business scenarios, implied consent is not necessarily enough – and if possible, it is always worth getting written Terms and Conditions acceptance.
When entering into a new supply agreement, particularly if you are providing goods or services in advance and only receiving payment later, provide your Ts & Cs upfront and ask for agreement from the customer.
You don’t necessarily need them to print out the document, physically sign it and return it by post; in the modern age, simply printing their name in an email can be enough to constitute a digital signature, especially if it’s accompanied by a clear statement of what they are agreeing to.
This process applies to your payment terms too, so get the customer to agree upfront if you want to be able to penalise them for late payment further down the line.
Remember, the customer might have Ts & Cs of their own, especially if they are a big company or a household name, so be very clear about what you are both agreeing on.
Simply signing two different – and conflicting – sets of Terms and Conditions is not a good idea, for obvious reasons, so if you are accepting the customer’s terms in order to secure a lucrative deal, unfortunately your own document will have to be shelved.
Where possible, in situations like this, try to work towards a compromise where your own key terms are incorporated into the customer’s document – this can prove difficult to get approved by a big company’s legal team though, so you might have to fight for any terms you especially want to retain.