Website terms and conditions template: marketplace for goods; buyer side

Marketplace websites connect buyers and sellers. This terms and conditions template defines the relationship between your business and buyers (either individuals or businesses) who use the market that your website creates. This document gives you best protection against problems with the CC(ICAC) Regulations and extensive notes advise you. As far as possible it insulates you from conflict between your suppliers and buyers from your website. It includes strong legal protection against malicious use of your website and misuse of your intellectual property.

Suitable for use in: England & Wales and Scotland
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About this terms and conditions document

This terms and conditions template is for a website that connects buyers and sellers of any goods. It sets out the relationship between your business and buyers who use your website to buy.

This document is suitable for a marketplace site that sells any type of physical product. So far as the Consumer Contracts (ICAC) Regulations are concerned, we have provided as far as possible for your suppliers to be responsible for compliance with the regulations, so as to minimise the weight on you. If you sell only to business, you can easily remove the provisions relating to the Regulations.

Your site might specialise in the sale of one type of item (fashion goods; toys; tools; some industrial product), or a particular type of seller or buyer (such as used business equipment), but what sort of marketplace your site creates is not important to these terms. We include provisions for the sellers and buyers to be businesses or consumers.

Because each marketplace website has its own business model, we provide separate agreements for terms with buyers and sellers. You should therefore pair this document with the most suitable seller side marketplace T&C document we offer. We list the most appropriate documents below.

Is this template suitable for your website?

This template is for any website that creates a marketplace where physical goods are sold. It doesn't matter what type of good is sold, provided that it is a 'physical' item and not downloaded. Your site could act as a marketplace for sellers trading with consumers (selling items such as rare coins or electrical homewares) or with businesses (trading items such as office equipment or mechanical plant), or both.

The template is ideal for a site that:

  • connects buyers with sellers. Your business should not also be a seller, nor should it hold stock or fulfil orders on behalf of sellers.
  • has additional functionality that allows buyers to interact with sellers or with other site visitors, for example, product reviews, feedback, forums, or questions.
  • provides payment facilities, collect taxes and fees and reimburse the seller the net sales value.
  • has sellers that pay you either by commission or by a transaction fee.
  • either allows sellers to upload their own product pages or product advertisements or instructs you to do that for them.
  • provides a marketing service to sellers.
  • has either regular sellers (for example, ones that operate their business from your site), or allows one-off sales.
  • are hosted in the UK - although sellers and buyers could be located anywhere in the world.

Examples of websites for which this template could be used

  • websites that create online shop fronts for manufacturers, wholesalers or producers where the product descriptions are controlled by the seller.
  • trading sites for second-hand goods (for example, books, furniture, computer parts, collectables) where the owner offers an item for sale.
  • sites that bring together retailers of different types of goods to offer a one-stop shopping experience to buyers (an online 'department' store where each retailer has a separate concession);

The benefit of clear terms and conditions

Website terms and conditions are probably the best example of a legal document where use of plain English strengthens the legal effect of the document. If a dispute should arise, it would be hard for a user of your site to claim that he did not understand, even if English is not his first language.

Using this document on your website will help you to:

  • set out clearly how your business works and how buyers should act and behave;
  • ensure that sellers and buyers receive the quality of service that you aim to provide;
  • present a professional image of your business. Our use of plain English helps to ensure that sellers do not feel intimidated by overly formal or legalistic language;
  • prevent misunderstandings and make solving disputes easier;
  • protect your website from misuse (we include paragraphs that set out exactly how buyers can interact with your website, and what they cannot do);
  • protect your business from complaints about content that your buyers posted - particularly important if buyers can interact with sellers without you actively monitoring every post or message.

Similar templates

This document provides terms between your business and buyers of products within your marketplace:

If you are in any doubt as to which T&C template you should choose, please contact us.

The law in this document

The law in these T&C is largely common law that deals with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, price and payment, provision of service, liabilities and risk. By and large, you can set the terms you want, particularly the commercial ones. The document should be edited so that it reflects exactly how your business works. Our guidance notes will tell you what you can change safely, and what we don't advise changing.

This template includes provisions allowing your sellers to comply with The Sale of Goods Acts (1979 and 1994) and The Consumer Contracts (ICAC) Regulations 2013, while selling to businesses or consumers.

Contents of this terms and conditions

This terms and conditions template includes provisions that cover both the relationship between the seller and the buyer and the relationship between your business and the buyer.

It includes terms relating to:

  • Definitions
  • Basis of contract between your business and the buyer
  • Responsibility of the buyer to provide accurate personal information to you
  • The buying procedure
  • Optional guarantee by you
  • Matters of payment
  • Extensive options for re-assurance to customers that you will take care of data
  • Option for consumer rights information
  • Defects and returns
  • Handling buyer's personal data, credit card and content uploaded or posted
  • Very extensive options as to what a buyer may or may not do on your website.
  • Removal of offensive content
  • Protection of copyright and other intellectual property rights
  • Interruption to service
  • Disclaimers and limitation of liability
  • Miscellaneous legal matters to protect your business
  • Over 3,000 words of drafting notes to help you
Draftsman

This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.

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