Why have website Terms and Conditions?
The key functions of your website terms and conditions is to try to reduce your exposure to a lawsuit, attempt to limit your liability in the event of a lawsuit and set the ground rules for how disputes with users will be resolved. While website terms and conditions can help reduce your exposure to a lawsuit, they do not guarantee that you will not be sued. Even companies with well drafted terms and conditions face liability for their site’s content, products and services.
10 Areas of Potential Liability
While different sites have the potential to attract different types of liability, common areas where websites face legal issues include:
- Inadequate provision for protecting your users’ personal information. For example there have been cases where user data was either improperly given to a third party, lost or stolen;
- Content on the website was not up to date and contained errors relied on to the detriment of one or a group of users. In some cases the website owner could be negligent or in breach of implied warranties;
- Principal terms of a contract (such as a product description or price) were posted in a misleading or deceptive manner under consumer protection legislation;
- The website contains an unknown virus or malware which effects a user or customer’s own computer;
- Transmission problems or server outages cause damages to your customers or users who rely on your site for business purposes (i.e. they lose access to their data and can’t conduct business or lose the ability to carry on business);
- Content on the site could contain material infringing on someone else’s copyright or trade-mark rights or is defamatory;
- Cookies, sniffers or logs are sometimes used without adequate notice and consent from the users which could be in breach of consumer protection and privacy laws;
- Criminal liability could arise, particularly in the context of online gambling sites or payment processors (e.g. PayPal) illegally used by customers for money laundering;
- The website could make representations contrary to securities laws resulting in investors taking legal action against your company;
- User data becomes subject to foreign government control (e.g. under the US Patriot Act). This is particularly a concern where servers are located outside your province or outside Canada.
Wires Law provides clients with fixed price quotes to create their website terms and conditions to help manage the relationship between their users and customers. To get your free quote, fill out the online form at Create Your Terms & Conditions Online.
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