Terms of Use Page: How to Limit Liability and Contract

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While you are in the process of developing an eye-catching, intriguing website for your business, the developer, out of nowhere, comes and asks for the content of your Terms of Use page. And then boom! You have absolutely no idea about that page. So far, you have spent ages trying to build the perfect landing page and other details of your business website. Something like this hasn’t even occurred as important for the website to you. You obviously haven’t thought about how to limit liability and contract with your customers on the Terms of Use page.

As you are reading the above paragraph, you might be wondering whether the Terms of Use page isn’t it just another legal page that happens to be at the bottom of the website. Yes, of course, you are right. Questions arise such as: Does any website visitor even read it? At least consider going through the page once? Do small business websites really need a Terms of Use page?

Uncertainty is understandable. But the quick answer is that probably you should consider having a Terms of Use page for your website.

Keep on reading to know why.

 

Overview of Terms of Use

The Terms of Use page is unarguably the most boring content on your website—admittedly– but it sets a set of rules and regulations for utilizing your website’s products and services or the website itself. While many of the websites have one set for their businesses, there is honestly no legal need to define Terms of Use.

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But remember one thing. If you are collecting customer’s personal information, then there will be a requirement for a formal privacy policy even if you don’t include the Terms of Use page on your website.

However, it is important to understand that the Terms of Use is one kind of agreement or contract between the organization and customers. Usually, not only does the Terms of Use dictate how customers or visitors can and cannot utilize your website but also, it explains what your website consumers or visitors can anticipate from you and vice-versa (What you can expect from your consumers).

This scenario is so true in cases of healthcare businesses. Let’s assume, you have an enterprise that specializes in management services and contracts with practitioners for the pharmaceutical doctors to render services to patients such as:

  • — Mobile health services
  • — Medical marijuana recommendations
  • — Services related to telehealth

In the above situation, one crucial aspect your Terms of Use contract should implement is that disclaim the medical part. To understand more, here are a few important provisions related to Terms of Use

Generally, the Terms of Use has a particular outline and layout, designed by headers so that visitors can follow. For instance, we begin the ones we outline with introductory stuff like:

 

Introduction — Describe your business, customer, website content, and any such crucial definitions.

Acceptance — By utilizing the website, the visitor accepts the Terms of Use.

Eligibility Describe who can utilize the website and the kind of purposes.

Rest usual provisions — Many provisions describing legal obligations.

Stoppage — Your business can stop for violations

 

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Now comes the essential Disclaimer part.

Disclaimer Section of Terms of Use

Utilize your Terms of Use to limit liability.  Disclaim particular aspects extremely deliberately.

For instance, as a healthcare business:

 

  • Disclaim the practice of medicine.
  • State that you are only providing knowledge and information online.
  • Disclaim the practice of psychology (or any other related healthcare field, such as chiropractic).
  • Note that data regarding dietary supplements (if appropriate) is not supported by FDA and is not expected to diagnose, treat, or cure any kind of disease.
  • Lead the customer who is in severely injured to an emergency place or crisis assist hotline.

 

Regardless what terms you create, just try to maintain the terms manageable to understand and in simple English so that both your consumers and your business understand the obligations that are involved. So here are some major tips on situations to take into consideration while drafting your Terms of Use contract.

 

  • — Customize terms according to your business

Remember that one size does not fit all and hence you have to customize those Terms of Use according to your business needs and requirements.

Before engaging a legal counsel to develop a customized Terms of Use for your website, note down your objectives and goals developing a website and what kind of concerns can yield based on your online ventures. Think about the type of your business, how you are planning to utilize your website, your anticipated online transactions, interactions with visitors, and possible legal liabilities that might be flown from your website. You might also consider checking with industry colleagues to uncover other regular online concerns and possible traps.

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  • — Mention your requirements of sale

If you are making a sale of products or services online, then you may have to add your conditions and requirements of sales in your Terms of Use contract. Spelling out those terms will help mitigate risks of potential lawsuits from dissatisfied customers.

Your terms must also include address payment, debit/credit card utility, transportation terms, refund and reimbursement procedures, and pledges. Of course, you may also want to limit your legal liability to your customers and other third parties who often revisit your website and take part in online transactions with your business. Have your attorney explain applicable state and federal consumer protection and unreliable business practice laws to ensure your sales terms would not run afoul of applicable rules.

 

Do you have more questions? Book a legal strategy session to understand more about the Terms of Use for your website.

 

 

About Author:

Michael H. Cohen is a healthcare and FDA attorney who counsels leaders in the health & wellness industry. He is a thought leader and keynote speaker on launching and growing innovative health & wellness businesses, while navigating legal and regulatory liability. By combining his knowledge of legal strategy and technological innovation, he guides business at the forefront of medicine and healthcare.

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