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Website Terms and Conditions 101: What Are They For?

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In reality, very few people take their time to read terms and conditions that they come across in a website or application, which includes the terms and services as well as privacy policies before they click or tap the “I Agree” button. However, if you’re one of those who don’t read just like the majority of consumers, you might be signing away a lot more than you can think of.

Terms and conditions are usually presented to a consumer or a user whenever their phone’s operating system is updating, or they are subscribing or registering something from a website, or perhaps they are installing an application or software. Usually, people skim lazily in the entire terms and conditions, and privacy policy without bothering themselves to read at all and hastily click on the “I agree” button.

According to a survey in the United States in 2017, around 2,000 consumers agree right away to the terms and conditions without even reading them. Almost a hundred percent of consumers in the US agree to the terms and conditions without reading them based on the survey results.

It may not look harmful to skip reading the terms and conditions. However, this effortlessly put yourselves in a risky situation by just agreeing on everything that the statement says which gives rights to the software or application over what private data or personal data they can collect, use, and can share and keep it as long as they want.

Shady corporations can constantly snoop from the data they extracted from you and can use it for exploitation whenever they are planning for financial gain and can be used as a spying or monitoring tool that clearly violates your privacy rights.

Are You Aware of What You’re Agreeing With?

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To explain, the terms and conditions that consumers have to deal with is a legal document which is designed to protect the company by explaining their terms and conditions to their customers along with a set of rules when they avail of the service. A privacy policy, meanwhile, is also a legal document that also explains to the users about their data that is being used and collected by the company or a third-party, or affiliates. Once the consumer clicks on the “I agree” button, everything that is stated in the terms and conditions will have your approval and will be legally bound to it.

Why Is It Very Important for a User to Read the Terms and Conditions?

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With this legal document on a website, application, or software, it will provide the company legal grounds wherein they can terminate their customers or users because of abuse.

When you click on the “I agree button,” you technically agreed to many things. To learn what exactly you have agreed with, you should always read the terms and conditions to ensure that you fully understand everything it stated to protect yourself.

A lot of people are usually shocked when they find out about what they had agreed to when they registered, purchased, or subscribed to something over the internet.

The Access to Private Data and Info

Just like when you registered an account in a social media platform when you agreed to its terms and conditions, you have agreed that your pictures and videos you uploaded to its database will be used by the owners of the social media platform, which is very risky to be exploited or abused.

Aside from your pictures and videos, you also disclosed your personal info that includes your name, your phone number, your address, your email address, and the private messages you exchanged with your peers. All of these data are shared with third-party companies that the social media partnered with, and you are not aware of this because you did not read the terms and conditions, as well as its privacy policy.

Hidden/Extra Charges

By reading and fully understanding the terms and conditions, you will help yourself in avoiding fees as well as charges that are hidden and are not clearly stated on the contract that you’ve signed up. This is why it is extremely important for you to read all of it if you’re not planning to pay extra than what you’ve expected.

A lot of people are usually surprised when they received their monthly bills with an added charge on it because they did not know how important it is to understand all of the statements in the terms and conditions before you agreed to it.

Products and Services Dispute and Dissatisfaction

In some instances, there are users who are not satisfied with the service or the purchased item online. If they found out that they can get their money back for having a clause in the contract that was clearly stated in it, they won’t be able to file a complaint to challenge it legally because of an excuse that they did not entirely know that it was there when they had agreed upon it when they purchased it.

It is given that terms and conditions are just too long to read, which is why you should try to search on the internet for its simplified version, and you might also want to search for the specific clauses that you are interested to learn. Clauses such as your rights if the service is not enough of what you have paid for, what you can get if you encounter data loss, and which part of the terms and conditions wherein you have the right to remove yourself from the agreement without any consequences.

The Importance of Companies to Create Their Terms and Conditions

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The terms and conditions are a vital aspect of a company or a business. This is because the majority of businesses today offer their products and their services online.

Businesses are required to state their customer’s rights along with the guidelines and the rules to follow and have to agree on for them to gain access to their services or product offerings.

Creating terms and conditions is very important for businesses. This has to be invested well by hiring a legal team composed of lawyers and professionals to create solid terms and conditions regardless if it is a small, medium, or a large corporation. Creating terms and condition may cost a business. However, this is some sort of security to protect the business as well from customers that can abuse their products or service.

Requirements Needed to Create Terms and Conditions

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Different important clauses should be containing the terms and conditions document of a business to protect itself from hefty lawsuits. To learn more, check out the detailed information below.

  • Usage clause and data collection– This clause is to inform the customers that the business is collecting their data, such as their recommended products, preferred internet surfing, and behavior, to name a few. This is very important to let the customers know if the business will be using the data they collected.
  • Profane language clause– Considering that there are tons of businesses that allow their customers to comment or leave a review on their website, it is very important to include this clause to prevent any customers who use foul language against the business. This clause prevents any intolerable language posted through comments and reviews from the customers that will be deleted right away.
  • Intellectual property clause– This clause is designed to protect the business owner’s product, service, or content from being copied, plagiarized, and manufactured without their permission. This clause is protected and designed under the International copyright law that is set to protect the property and gives the business the right to file legal charges against those that will violate this clause.
  • Termination clause– Businesses have to inform their clients or customers of the circumstances that their agreement may be terminated. The business should clearly state their obligations to their customer to help them understand if the business needs to terminate any active contact, especially when the customer violates other clauses that they agreed upon.
  • Governing law clause– The governing law should be included in one of the clauses of the business’s terms and conditions. This is very important to inform the customer of the governing law and the jurisdiction based on the terms that are presented on the contract they agreed upon.

Conclusion

To wrap up, terms and conditions should not be taken lightly between customers and businesses. By reading terms and conditions, it will provide customers the chance to review their rights and learn the rules and guidelines that they have to agree upon so that they can decide to push through with their decision to whether avail of the product or service. For businesses, this will give them protection from abusive customers and also ensure that they are abiding the law.

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