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Updated Services Terms of Business

July 2013

This month we are publishing a substantial update to three variants of our Business-to-Consumer Terms and Conditions of Service. Whilst technically an update, in that this document replaces one which we have offered for many years, this is an all-new template, written from the ground up in terms that have been designed to be as consumer-friendly as possible.

No longer are the terms and conditions couched in heavy business and legal terms. They have not lost any of their legal and business effectiveness, but can now be easily read and interpreted by an average consumer.

The updated Terms and Conditions of Service are suitable for use with a wide range of services and can thus be applied to most every-day service contracts.

The variants in question include:
1) A version which covers services that will result in the creation or production of intellectual property rights. Options within the document enable the service provider to either licence or assign those rights to the customer.
2) A version designed for use in situations where the services will be provided within a larger project, requiring the service provider to work alongside other contractors.
3) A version designed for use in projects that are divided into milestones with payments falling due for the successful completion of each milestone.

Key Legal Points

There are a number of important legal points to be aware of when contracting with consumers. In service contracts, the most important laws to be aware of are:
- The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, prohibiting misleading or aggressive sales practices;
- The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, requiring that, among other things, goods and services are provided to consumers with reasonable care and skill;
- The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, prohibiting terms that excessively limit or exclude the seller’s liability;
- The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, providing further protection for consumers by, for example, ensuring good faith and avoiding significant imbalance in the rights of the parties.

It is important for all service providers to be aware of their obligations and the rights of their customers. The new Terms and Conditions of Service have been written with these laws in mind.

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.

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