The first issue to consider is that it can get you and your business into a lot of trouble for breaching copyright and also for having Terms on your website that are not related to your business.
The second issue to be concerned about is that you may end up with a penalty fine from the regulators. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is now checking e-commerce websites randomly and issuing penalties to non-compliant sites. They are focussing on consumer protection and misleading Terms of purchase.
The fines are quite steep with penalties of up to $1.1 million for businesses and up to $220K for individuals. This means that if you do not have any Terms and Conditions or have copied someone else’s Terms that do not relate to your products or services, you may find yourself with a hefty fee from the regulators.
The third and most important consideration is that you are putting your business and yourself at risk with your customers. Your Terms and Conditions are essentially your contract with your customers. You are relying on your Terms to protect you and your business in the event of any customer issues, if a customer reports your business to a regulatory body or if a customer sues you.
Can I rely on copied website Terms and Conditions?
Any court will first look to your website Terms and Conditions to determine what your relationship is with your customer and what contractual Terms have been agreed. If you have copied these Terms from another website business, it may be difficult to rely on them to protect you or your business. Any customer issue may end up closing down your online business or sending you bankrupt through a court process you never anticipated.
It is a risk to both your reputation and also to your business if you do not have website Terms and Conditions to rely on or if they are copied and do not relate to your specific online business. After all the work, time and money you have put into your online business, you should never risk having no legal website Terms and Conditions or worse, copied legal website Terms.
There are online legal businesses that offer compliant website Terms and Conditions at reasonable prices, so there is no excuse to put you and your business at risk with non-compliant Terms. And while you’re at it, check out our inexpensive, easy-to-use templates.