9 Things to Include in a Terms and Conditions Agreement

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 4,036 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Terms and Conditions?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

A terms and conditions agreement, also known as terms of service, is a legal document between a provider of a service and a website or app user. This document clarifies and provides boundaries, warranties, and contract principles that govern the relationship between the user and service provider.

Terms and conditions also act as a user license agreement. If you are researching how to write terms and conditions, this article will cover 9 things to include.

1. Introduction to Business

Every terms and conditions agreement begins with an introduction to the business issuing the document. Then, it establishes a context for the contract principles that will shape your user agreement.

Before people can agree to your terms and conditions, they must know exactly who your business is and how these website terms and conditions apply to your site and their experience.

Although you are not technically required by law to have official terms and conditions agreement, it is a highly common and recommended business practice.

Without terms and conditions, you may have a harder time legally enforcing your rights, such as:

Here is an article that explores the elements of terms of service more.

2. Business Contract Details

The terms and conditions contract helps you establish legal authority over your business and the platform users engage with.

It does a number of things such as:

  • Offering legal protection against litigation (lawsuits)
  • Protecting your business’s intellectual property
  • Regulating user conduct on the site

For example, a large part of terms and conditions for sites with social features is the ban of any discriminatory, hateful, or abusive language.

In this portion of the document, you will describe the contract principles, such as rules affecting the use of content and user conduct on your site or application.

You must establish that the user must consent to all the terms and conditions in the contract. Accepting the terms and conditions allows them to follow a user agreement whenever they use your platform.

A step-by-step article on how to write a terms and conditions agreement.

3. Effective Date

The effective date is the start date of the terms and conditions agreement, for example, November 2022. Therefore, if you update your terms and conditions, you will need to change the effective date.

If you write your terms and conditions for the first time, you can simply write, “Effective From [Date].”

You can change “effective from” to “last updated” when you update your agreement.

Annual reviews are advisable for all user agreements. Your business’s needs may change, or you may alter your agreements to reflect changes in your audience’s behavior.

Whatever the case, every agreement needs to have an effective date. This makes it easier to legally enforce if there is ever a lawsuit or liability.

Here is an article that explains effective dates in contract law.

4. Governing Law

Governing law establishes what legal body will enforce the contract's warranties, regulations, and terms. Here is an example governing body statement:

You agree that all matters relating to your interactions on the site/application will be governed by the laws of the United States and the laws in the state of New York.”

Governing law protects your business by ensuring no one can sue it for breaching laws outside your jurisdiction.

Imagine that you have an international client who raises a legal dispute over a violation. Would the dispute be handled based on the laws in their country or yours?

Governing law ensures that your business is always legally operating within the structure of your country and state’s governing laws.

Here is an article about how governing law works in contracts.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Zachary J.

53 projects on CC
View Profile

Justin K.

3 projects on CC
View Profile

Don G.

27 projects on CC
View Profile

Matthew S.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

5. Limitation of Liability and Warranty Disclaimers

A disclaimer of warranties and liability limitations is important to protecting your business. You can state that your company will not be held accountable for any personal injury, data theft, loss, or other damages incurred by using your website.

You can also limit your liability for any inaccurate content or information found on your site and absolve your business of any responsibility for others’ content or actions on your platform.

In website terms and conditions, it is most common to include a disclaimer for:

  • Computer viruses, including malware and spyware
  • Device malfunctions and data losses
  • User enjoyment
  • Product/service satisfaction guarantees
  • Downtime due to maintenance, server crashes, or other errors

You can also use your warranties disclaimer section to set a damages cap. This means that if someone files a lawsuit against your business, there is a limit to how much money they can pursue.

Good warranties are fair to both your business and the customer. Therefore, it is important to protect yourself by limiting liability. Still, you must also offer enough security to build trust with your users.

Here is an article with 10 examples of disclaimers you may draw inspiration from.

6. Rules of Conduct

Terms and conditions also impact terms of service. Together, they form a user agreement that grants a person the privilege to access your website or mobile application.

Rules of conduct set the guidelines for behavior on the website. They allow you to:

  • Prohibit discussions about particular topics
  • Set age restrictions for users
  • Provide an outline of what consequences someone can face if they violate your conditions

Examples of penalties include account suspension or termination.

Here is an article with an example of a terms and conditions agreement with clear rules of conduct.

7. Intellectual Property Rights

You can protect your intellectual property through a terms and conditions agreement. Your intellectual property is anything intangible that you own. For example:

  • Your business’s name
  • Your business’s logo
  • Your domain address
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights

Your user terms of service can directly prohibit the unauthorized use, distribution, sale, or sharing of any intellectual property.

Here is an article that provides more information on what counts as intellectual property.

8. User Restrictions

You can include rules for behaviors users cannot do on your website/app. This can include sharing illegal, sexually explicit, stolen, or copyrighted material.

Restrictions are in place to protect the business as well as other users. They prohibit hateful, abusive, or harmful behaviors and protect others’ data and privacy.

You should also note what consequences someone can experience for violating restrictions.

Here is an article you can refer to and see how user restrictions are covered.

9. Right to Termination

The business can reserve its right to delete a user’s account through contract termination agreement.

Breaches of contract can result in immediate termination without warning if someone violates the terms of service in their user agreement.

You can also reinforce the users’ right to terminate service and delete their account with your business anytime.

Ensure you also cover privacy policies and data storage after account termination. For example, suppose a user deletes their account or your company deletes theirs. What happens to their name/username, IP address, email address, password, and other data you collect?

Here is an article to learn more about termination clauses.

Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive flat fee bids from lawyers for your project. All lawyers have been vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers for you to explore before hiring.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

Michael M. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
5.0 (102)
Member Since:
September 9, 2022

Michael M.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Los Angeles, CA
36 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA

I am an experienced contracts professional having practiced nearly 3 decades in the area of corporate law and nearly a decade in the investment and finance arena. I enjoy providing a cost effective, high quality and timely solution to client needs. This includes any form of contract a business may encounter, start-up matters, financings, informal dispute resolution, as well as mergers and acquisitions. I graduated from NYU Law School. I have worked at top Wall Street firms, top regional firms as well as long term experience in my own practice. I would welcome the opportunity to be of service to you as a trusted fiduciary.

Spencer R. on ContractsCounsel
View Spencer
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
September 15, 2022

Spencer R.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New York
27 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Washington College of Law at American University

I am an experienced attorney working in New York specializing in transactional work, tax structuring and contracts.

Mark F. on ContractsCounsel
View Mark
4.8 (2)
Member Since:
September 2, 2022

Mark F.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Silicon Valley, CA
42 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of California Hastings College of Law

International-savvy technology lawyer with 35years+ in Silicon Valley, Tokyo, Research Triangle, Silicon Forest. Outside & inside general counsel, legal infrastructure development, product exports, and domestic & international contracts for clients across North America, Europe, and Asia. Work with Founders to establish startup and continuous revenue, sourcing and partnering with investors to attract funding, define success strategy and direct high-performing teams, advising stakeholders and Boards of Directors to steer company growth.

John C. on ContractsCounsel
View John
Member Since:
August 16, 2022

John C.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Leawood, Kansas
42 Yrs Experience
Licensed in KS, MO
U.M.K.C Law School

Licensed to practice law in the states of Missouri and Kansas. Have been licensed to practice law for 44 years. Have been AV rated by Martindale Hubbel for almost 30 years.

Max N. on ContractsCounsel
View Max
Member Since:
August 17, 2022

Max N.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in OK
Oklahoma City University School of Law

Oklahoma attorney focused on real estate transactions, quiet title lawsuits, estate planning, probates, business formations, and all contract matters.

Michael S. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
Member Since:
September 20, 2022

Michael S.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Philadelphia, PA
33 Yrs Experience
Licensed in PA
Temple University School of Law

Real estate and corporate attorney with over 30 years of experience in large and small firms and in house.

Alex P. on ContractsCounsel
View Alex
Member Since:
September 4, 2022

Alex P.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Los Angeles
24 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Pepperdine Law School

Managing partner at Patel & Almeida and has over 22 years of experience assisting clients in the areas of intellectual property. business, employment, and nonprofit law.

Tiffanie W. on ContractsCounsel
View Tiffanie
Member Since:
September 8, 2022

Tiffanie W.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Florida Coastal School of Law

Tiffanie Wilson is a business transactions and personal injury lawyer. She helps clients realize their business goals by expertly drafting contracts, providing sound legal advice, and working for justice for injured clients.

Daniel F. on ContractsCounsel
View Daniel
Member Since:
September 6, 2022

Daniel F.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Woodmere, NY
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
St. Johns School of Law

An experienced attorney with a varied range of legal abilities. Focusing on real estate transactions and general commercial litigation.

Doug F. on ContractsCounsel
View Doug
Member Since:
September 7, 2022

Doug F.

Managing Director
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Boston, MA
41 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MA, NY
Boston University School of Law

Doug has over 20 years of private and public company general counsel experience focusing his legal practice on commercial transactions including both software and biotech. He is a tech savvy, business savvy lawyer who is responsive and will attain relationship building outcomes with your counterparty while effectively managing key risks and accelerating revenue. He received his Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law earning the Book Award in Professional Ethics and after graduation he taught legal writing there for a number of years. Prior to law school, Doug earned a M.A in Mathematics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a B.S in Honors Mathematics at Purdue University. After law school, Doug joined Fish & Richardson, where his practice focused on licensing software, trademarks and biotech. While at Fish & Richardson Doug authored a book on software licensing published by the American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association. Later he joined as General Counsel at FTP Software and led an IPO as well as corporate development. Doug has broad experience with a broad range of commercial agreement drafting and negotiation including SaaS software and professional services, distribution and other channel agreements, joint venture and M&A. Doug continued his leadership, corporate governance and commercial transaction practice at Mercury Computers (NASDAQ:MRCY) leading corporate development. Doug’s experience ranges from enterprise software to biotech and other vertical markets. He joined the board of Deque Systems in 2009 and joined in an operating role as President in 2020 successfully scaling the software business.

Kathryn K. on ContractsCounsel
View Kathryn
Member Since:
September 13, 2022

Kathryn K.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Longmont, CO
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO
Georgetown University Law Center

I graduated from Georgetown Law in 2009 and have been practicing for thirteen years. My primary practice areas are business law and commercial contracts, with a particular focus on B2B contracts and customer-facing terms for online service companies, and advising consultancies on services agreements. I also provide a range of services to government contractors. Although I have represented numerous Fortune 500 companies and the Defense Department, my passion is advising startups and small businesses. Prior to opening my own practice, I worked for four years at one of the most prestigious law firms in the world, a boutique appellate litigation firm headed by a former White House chief of staff, the federal government, and one of the country's most renowned government contracts firms. I live in Boulder but represent clients nationwide.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call