DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is not (and is not intended to be) legal advice. This is legal information only. Reviewing information about the law may help you understand whether you need legal assistance. Whether and how this information applies to your circumstances requires the assistance of legal counsel who can apply the information to your needs. Do not rely on this article to make decisions. You may contact Wires Law, and we would be pleased to determine whether our firm can assist you. No solicitor-client relationship is established until we confirm we can act for you in a legal services agreement. Read our Terms of Use for more information. 

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 contents, products and services. A key function of your 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 different sites have the potential to attract different types of liability, common areas where websites may face legal issues include:

 

  1. The sale of unsafe products or services or products or services which cause liability under consumer and product safety legislation;
  1. 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;
  1. 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;
  1. Principal terms of a contract (such as a product description or price) were posted in a misleading or deceptive manner under consumer protection legislation;
  1. The website contains an unknown virus or malware which effects a user or customer’s own computer;
  1. 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 cannot conduct business or lose the ability to carry on business);
  1. Content on the site could contain material infringing on someone else’s copyright or trade-mark rights or is defamatory. This is particularly a problem with sites who permit users to upload their own content;
  1. Cookies are sometimes used without adequate notice and consent from the users which could be in breach of consumer protection and privacy laws;
  1. 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;
  1. The website could make representations contrary to securities laws resulting in investors taking legal action against your company;
  1. Breaching new anti-spam legislation including for example Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL), which came into effect July 1, 2014; and
  1. 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.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is not (and is not intended to be) legal advice. This is legal information only.  Reviewing information about the law may help you understand whether you need legal assistance. Whether and how this information applies to your circumstances requires the assistance of legal counsel who can apply the information to your needs. Do not rely on this article to make decisions. You can contact Wires Law and we would be please to determine whether our firm can assist you. No solicitor-client relationship is established until we confirm we can act for you in a legal services agreement. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or currency of information posted in this article or web URL links herein.

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Wires Law is a corporate commercial law firm delivering legal services to entrepreneurs and small and medium sized business. To learn more about us visit https://wireslaw.ca/about-wires-law-john-wires/