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What are Marketplace Terms and Conditions?
Marketplace terms and conditions describe the rules, restrictions, regulations, and warranty disclaimer that you, as the marketplace operator, set for users of your marketplace.
These terms and conditions cover important aspects of using a website, usually for e-commerce, that users must agree to before using. They protect third-party sellers and providers of e-commerce marketplaces and their transactions and govern users that are interacting with said websites.
The following are examples of some of the more common issues covered by marketplace terms and conditions:
- "What is my responsibility as a marketplace owner"
- “How can I help buyers and sellers get the most out of my site?”
- "What are the responsibilities of buyers and sellers?"
- "How will disputes be resolved in my marketplace?"
Here is an article about marketplace terms and conditions.
What is a Marketplace?
An online marketplace is any website that allows buyers and sellers to connect, usually for the purpose of buying and selling services or products. An online marketplace can be classified as a single-sided or multi-sided platform.
In an online marketplace model, you can think of the consumers as the demand side and the business owners as the supply side. The middleman/commoditizing company is then responsible for bringing these two sides together.Some examples of online marketplaces include Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. However, many smaller, niche marketplaces also cater to specific industries or trade types.
Here is an article about what a marketplace is.
3 Types of Marketplaces
There are three main types of marketplaces, organized by how the business is structured to sell: business-to-business, business-to-consumer, or peer-to-peer.
- Business-to-Business (B2B). B2B marketplaces are online platforms that connect businesses with other businesses. These marketplaces usually cater to businesses that are looking to buy or sell products or services in bulk. Examples of B2B marketplaces include Alibaba, ThomasNet, and MFG.com.
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C). B2C marketplaces are online platforms that connect businesses with consumers. These marketplaces usually cater to businesses that are looking to sell products or services to individual consumers. Examples of B2C marketplaces include Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P). P2P markets are online platforms that connect individuals with other individuals. These marketplaces usually cater to individuals who are looking to buy or sell products or services. Examples of P2P marketplaces include Airbnb, LendingClub, and OfferUp.
Here is an article about the three types of marketplaces.
Does a Marketplace Need Terms and Conditions?
There are a few key reasons why you need to have strong terms of service in place:
- To Protect Your Business. By having clear rules and regulations in place, you can minimize the risk of legal issues arising from transactions gone wrong.
- To Create a Positive User Experience. By setting expectations through a terms of service agreement, and clearly defining roles and responsibilities, you can help create a positive user experience for all involved.
- To Build Trust and credibility. Having a well-thought-out terms and conditions agreement helps build trust and credibility with users, which can encourage them to keep using your marketplace.
Here is an article that talks about the importance of terms and conditions.
Image via Pexels by Liza Summer
What’s Included in Marketplace’s Terms and Conditions?
Your terms and conditions agreement should cover at a minimum, the following topics:
- Billing and Payments. If you are running a marketplace that charges fees, you will need to include terms that cover how billing will work and when users will be charged. You should also include information on refund and return policies.
- Buyer and Seller Obligations. To protect yourself from potential liability, you should include terms that set out the obligations of buyers and sellers who use your marketplace. If you provide any buyer protections, such as a money-back guarantee, then the terms should also reflect these protections.
- Platform Policies. You should include terms, or a user agreement, that set out your policies for how users can use your marketplace. This can include any restrictions on what can be bought or sold, for example, no weapons or illegal goods. You should also make it clear by enacting a user license agreement for software.
- Dispute Resolution. Terms that govern how disputes between buyers and sellers are resolved, or a formal services agreement, to help both parties understand how they might be treated if something goes wrong. They should also include verbiage to handle termination of the services agreement, in cases of a breach. This helps promote trust in your platform, making it easier for new users to buy and sell on your site or app.
Here is an article with a video about what should be in your marketplace terms and conditions.
How to Write Terms and Conditions for My Marketplace
When writing terms and conditions for your marketplace, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Be clear and concise. Avoid using legal jargon and make sure that your terms are easy to understand.
- Think about your specific marketplace. What rules and regulations do you need in place to ensure that it runs smoothly?
- Consider your users. What do they need to know to have a positive experience in your marketplace?
Keeping these things in mind, you can begin creating terms and conditions to include the sections that follow:
- Registration and Accounts. Explain how to set up an account and what information is required.
- Billing and Payments. Information on fees, refunds, and return policies.
- Buyer and Seller Obligations. What is expected of buyers and sellers who use the marketplace.
- Platform Policies. Information on restrictions, what is allowable to list, and following the law.
- Dispute Resolution. How disputes will be handled between buyers and sellers?
- Intellectual Property. Include terms that specify who owns the content that is posted on your marketplace. Also, make it clear that users retain ownership of their content but grant you a license to use it.
- Contract Termination. Include information on how and when accounts can be terminated, as well as what will happen to user content when an account is terminated.
By including these key sections in your marketplace terms and conditions, you can help to protect your business and ensure that all users are aware of the rules of your marketplace.
Here is an article with an interesting guide that helps generate a marketplace terms and conditions agreement.
Where Should You Display Terms and Conditions on a Marketplace Website?
Your terms and conditions should be easily accessible to users of your marketplace. A good place to put them is on a dedicated page linked to your website’s footer. You can also include a link to your terms and conditions in any email communications that you send to users.Make sure that your marketplace terms and conditions are always up to date and that you notify users of any changes that are made. You should also keep a copy of your marketplace terms and conditions for your records.
Here is an article that reviews where to display a marketplace terms and conditions agreement.
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Meet some of our Marketplace Terms and Conditions Lawyers
March 11, 2021
I am a California-barred attorney specializing in business contracting needs. My areas of expertise include contract law, corporate formation, employment law, including independent contractor compliance, regulatory compliance and licensing, and general corporate law. I truly enjoy getting to know my clients, whether they are big businesses, small start-ups looking to launch, or individuals needing legal guidance. Some of my recent projects include: -drafting business purchase and sale agreements -drafting independent contractor agreements -creating influencer agreements -creating compliance policies and procedures for businesses in highly regulated industries -drafting service contracts -advising on CA legality of hiring gig workers including effects of Prop 22 and AB5 -forming LLCs -drafting terms of service and privacy policies -reviewing employment contracts I received my JD from UCLA School of Law and have been practicing for over five years in this area. I’m an avid reader and writer and believe those skills have served me well in my practice. I also complete continuing education courses regularly to ensure I am up-to-date on best practices for my clients. I pride myself on providing useful and accurate legal advice without complex and confusing jargon. I look forward to learning about your specific needs and helping you to accomplish your goals. Please reach out to learn more about my process and see if we are a good fit!
April 6, 2021
I absolutely love helping my clients buy their first home, sell their starters, upgrade to their next big adventure, or transition to their next phase of life. The confidence my clients have going into a transaction and through the whole process is one of the most rewarding aspects of practicing this type of law. My very first class in law school was property law, and let me tell you, this was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I remember vividly cracking open that big red book and staring at the pages not having the faintest idea what I was actually reading. Despite those initial scary moments, I grew to love property law. My obsession with real estate law was solidified when I was working in Virginia at a law firm outside DC. I ran the settlement (escrow) department and learned the ins and outs of transactions and the unique needs of the parties. My husband and I bought our first home in Virginia in 2012 and despite being an attorney, there was so much we didn’t know, especially when it came to our HOA and our mortgage. Our real estate agent was a wonderful resource for finding our home and negotiating some of the key terms, but there was something missing in the process. I’ve spent the last 10 years helping those who were in the same situation we were in better understand the process.
March 1, 2021
Texas licensed attorney specializing for 20 years in Business and Contract law. My services include General Business Law Advisement; Contract Review and Drafting; Legal Research and Writing, including Motion Practice; Business Formation; Article or Instructive Writing; and more. For more insight into my skills and experience, please feel free to visit my LinkedIn profile or contact me with any questions.
March 5, 2021
Creative, results driven business & technology executive with 24 years of experience (13+ as a business/corporate lawyer). A problem solver with a passion for business, technology, and law. I bring a thorough understanding of the intersection of the law and business needs to any endeavor, having founded multiple startups myself with successful exits. I provide professional business and legal consulting. Throughout my career I've represented a number large corporations (including some of the top Fortune 500 companies) but the vast majority of my clients these days are startups and small businesses. Having represented hundreds of successful crowdfunded startups, I'm one of the most well known attorneys for startups seeking CF funds. My engagements often include legal consultation & advisory roles, drafting of NDAs, TOS & Privacy Policies, contracts and corporate law, business strategy advice & consulting, in-house counsel, Founder & entrepreneur guidance and other roles as needed by my clients. I hold a Juris Doctor degree with a focus on Business/Corporate Law, a Master of Business Administration degree in Entrepreneurship, A Master of Education degree and dual Bachelor of Science degrees. I look forward to working with any parties that have a need for my skill sets.
March 5, 2021
Seasoned technology lawyer with 22+ years of experience working with the hottest start-ups through IPO and Fortune 50. My focus is primarily technology transactions with an emphasis on SaaS and Privacy, but I also provide GC services for more active clients.
March 12, 2021
I am a NY licensed attorney experienced in business contracts, agreements, waivers and more, corporate law, and trademark registration. My office is a sole member Law firm therefore, I Take pride in giving every client my direct attention and focus. I focus on getting the job done fast while maintaining high standards.
April 1, 2021
A twenty-five year attorney and certified mediator native to the Birmingham, Alabama area.