Terms for Online Marketplaces

September 2017

E-Commerce has grown exponentially over the first part of the 21 st Century and there are now comparatively few retailers worth their salt that do not have an online presence. Part of this trend has seen the emergence and growth of individuals and small businesses selling online using online “marketplaces” – sites offering a ready-made sales platform enabling just about anyone to enjoy the benefits of e-commerce without the associated costs of setting up their own shop.

New Terms and Conditions Templates

For those looking to set up such websites, Simply-Docs now offers a specific set of terms and conditions templates. Designed to work together, each document covers a different aspect of an online marketplace: general website terms of use, terms for sellers, and terms for buyers.

As with many of our e-commerce templates, these documents have been drafted using broad language, designed to ensure that you can apply them to a wide range of applications. You are free to determine what users can and cannot sell on your marketplace website, and the terms have been written to accommodate both goods and digital content (or a combination thereof).

The terms for sellers and terms for buyers are of particular importance, not only because they set out the key rights and obligations for users using your marketplace, but also because they establish your position as the website operator as merely the provider of the marketplace itself, not as a party to any transaction that takes place on it.

Payments, both between buyers and sellers and between sellers and you, are addressed. The model adopted in these templates is based upon a two-part fee system whereby a seller pays a fixed “listing fee” for each item listed for sale (and renewals of those listings) and a percentage-based “transaction fee” for each sale. As to payment methods, we have drafted these documents to work with a third party payment system, requiring buyers and sellers to enter into a separate agreement with the service provider.

Other key provisions in these new templates address important requirements stemming from distance selling laws and consumer rights legislation, requiring sellers to offer a “cooling-off” period, and emphasizing their obligations to provide items that are of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described to buyers.

(Please note that, while new, these templates replace older documents in our portfolio and are thus labelled as updates; however, their purpose has been changed significantly and the documents that they replace have now largely had their role assumed by our E-Commerce Digital Content templates.)

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.