Story image

E-commerce terms and conditions : what you need to know

01 Jul 2010

If you have an e-commerce facility on your website then you will know that your bank requires you to have terms and conditions for its use. But having an e-commerce facility creates its own unique issues which won’t be covered by your normal terms of trade.
Why you need specific e-commerce terms
With e-commerce your customers will be paying you by credit card over the internet. You can’t see them and neither are they required to verify their identity through a pin number or a signature. As a result the transaction is less secure, and then you add the complication that it’s happening over the internet. Whether your e-commerce facility uses Secure Socket Layer technology or not, everything is vulnerable to an expert intent on doing some damage. So if something goes wrong; for example, the customer is using somebody else’s card or the transaction somehow gets hacked, then you want to make sure that no liability attaches to you.
What should you put in your terms?
Here is a short checklist of some things you will want to cover in your e-commerce terms to ensure that your liability is kept to a minimum:
Ensure the customer is who he says he is: this means getting the customer to agree that he is over 18 and he is using his own credit card for a proper purpose.
Refunds: what is your policy on refunds? In what circumstances will they be made and how? My recommendation is that all refunds only be made back to the card which originally purchased the product and not by any other means.
Privacy: get permission to collect personal information from your customers through your online shopping cart.
Security: give some assurances around the level of security offered, but exclude liability for transactions that may be hacked.
Fees: does payment by your e-commerce facility attract additional fees on top of the price for the product? If so, this must be specified.
Limit liability: You need to have a general exclusion of liability for the customer’s use of the e-commerce facility and emphasise that any payment reversals are nothing to do with you, but are between the customer and their card issuer.
Review your terms now
The chances are that your normal terms of trade will not include these terms (at least specific to the customer’s use of the e-commerce facility). So either incorporate such terms into your standard trading terms or have them as a separate document. Make sure the customer ticks the box to say that they have read them (even if they don’t).

50 million tonnes of e-waste: IT faces sustainability challenges
“Through This is IT, we want to help people better understand the problem of today’s linear “take, make, dispose” thinking around IT products and its effects like e-waste, pollution and climate change."
Vocus & Vodafone unbundle NZ's fibre network
“Unbundling fibre will provide retail service providers with a flexible future-proofed platform regardless of what tomorrow brings."
IDC: A/NZ second highest APAC IoT spenders per capita
New IDC forecast expects the Internet of Things spending in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan to reach US$381.8 Billion by 2022.
Xero launches new data capture product in NZ
“Data automation is the fastest growing app category on the Xero app marketplace so we know there is a hunger for these types of tools."
Security flaw in Xiaomi electric scooters could have deadly consequences
An attacker could target a rider, and then cause the scooter to suddenly brake or accelerate.
Four ways the technology landscape will change in 2019
Until now, organisations have only spoken about innovative technologies somewhat theoretically. This has left people without a solid understanding of how they will ultimately manifest in our work and personal lives.
IDC: Top 10 trends for NZ’s digital transformation
The CDO title is declining, 40% of us will be working with bots, the Net Promoter Score will be key to success, and more.
Kiwi partner named in HubSpot’s global top five
Hype & Dexter is an Auckland-based agency that specialises in providing organisations with marketing automation solutions.