What should be included in the terms and conditions of an online shop?

When you run an online shop, you need to provide your customers with terms and conditions of service. This document lists the rules your website abides to and is used for legal purposes.

ToS requirements for physical goods sellers

A comprehensive terms of service agreement of an online shop that mail orders its products should include the following information:

  1. First name and last name (for natural persons), or name (for companies and other entities) along with an address, under which the business is registered (for companies, a registry number is also needed)
  2. If a permit or entry in the Regulated Activity Register is needed to sell merchandise via internet shops – it must be mentioned which administrative authority issued the permit, along with the number of the registration.
  3. Information about the available payment methods for the order (credit card, debit card, transfer, etc).
  4. The price, date, and means of delivery of the ordered good (interchangeably: they can be in a separate price-list)
  5. If merchandise can be purchased by a natural person (consumer): information concerning a possible withdrawal from the contract by the client (consumer) without giving reason within an appropriate period as of delivery date (or other consequent from domestic law). Additionally, there should be information regarding the means and pricing in returning merchandise to the merchant. As well as info explaining that if the client does exercise this right in an appropriate manner, the paid amount will be returned through the same channel that was used to pay for the merchandise.
  6. How to fill a complaint for damaged merchandise (for example: customer service phone number, e-mail address, redirecting to a complaint form, etc.), means of delivering the damaged merchandise to the seller, and the amount of time it will take to consider the filed complaint.

ToS requirements for non-physical goods sellers

If your online shop sells non-physical goods, for example grants access to restricted content in exchange for subscribing, the terms and conditions should include information on the following:

  1. First name and last name (for natural persons), or name (for companies and other entities) along with an address, under which the business is registered (for companies, registry number is also needed)
  2. The minimal hardware requirements of the device that will be used by the client (for example: computer operating system, web browser, additional software, etc.)
  3. The type and range of service provided by the site.
  4. How an agreement may be reached via the site. An exemplary procedure can be as follows:
    1. Customer places an order via the website;
    2. Customer receives a verification via e-mail that the order was placed;
    3. Customer pays for the service;
    4. After the payment has been verified, the customer receives an e-mail verifying that he can use the service.
  5. Information about the available payment method for the order (credit card, debit card, transfer, etc).
  6. In case of periodic withdrawals from a card: Information that should the client choose this option, he agrees to periodic withdrawals from his account. If this service ordered for a test period: clear information about when the testing period will end and in what way a client may inform a merchant that he no longer wants to continue using this service, therefore continued withdrawals will not be possible.
  7. Information regarding the period of validity of a signed agreement concerning the extent of services provided by the site, that is for a specific period of time (for example: 5 months, until 06.07.2014, etc.), or indefinite period of time. If an agreement has been signed for an indefinite period of time, there has to be an information concerning a deadline, when either of the sides can terminate the agreement. Additionally, information about how a client can terminate a contract (through e-mail, written letter, etc.)
  8. If a natural person (customer) can order service, an agreement is signed for an unspecified period, at the same time information should be provided regarding the possibility to terminate the contract by either side without giving reason, within a one month period (a shorter term may be given, but it cannot be extended). Additionally, an information should be placed indicating how one can terminate the agreement (through e-mail, written letter, etc.)
  9. If a natural person (customer) can order service: information about the possibility to terminate an agreement by the client (customer), without giving a reason, within an appropriate period from the day that an agreement was signed. Additionally, information explaining that if the client does exercise this right in an appropriate manner, the paid amount will be returned through the same channel that was used to pay for the merchandise.
  10. Means by which a complaint for wrongdoing can be filed (for example customer service phone number, e-mail address, redirecting to a complaint form, etc.), and the amount of time it will take to consider the filed complaint.

The terms and conditions should be accepted by a customer before being redirected to a payment website. They should also be placed on the webpage of the service (in a way that allows for quick and easy access, for example – in a visible tab). Once you become a Paylane merchant, you should also include the info about your payment provider in the ToS: payments are serviced by PayLane sp. z o.o. which is located in Gdańsk at ul. Arkońska 6/A3, zip code: 80-387, KRS: 0000227278.

As an owner of an online shop, you should also include an outlining of the use of your customers' personal data. This would go into privacy policy - but that does not need to be a separate document.

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