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

Marketplace websites connect sellers with buyers. This terms and conditions template defines the relationship between your business and retailers who use the market that your website creates to sell their goods. 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 you and your sellers who put up goods for sale on which commission is paid to you.

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.

So far as the CC(ICAC) regulations are concerned, we insulate you as far as possible from seller obligations, yet make clear to your sellers that they must comply.

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 buyer 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 home wares) or with businesses (trading items such as office equipment or mechanical plant), or both.

The template suits sites that:

  • are hosted in the UK - although sellers and buyers could be located anywhere in the world.
  • simply connects buyers with sellers. Your business should not also be a seller, nor should it hold stock or fulfil orders on behalf of sellers.
  • provide payment facilities, collect taxes and fees and reimburse the seller the net sales value.
  • have sellers that are paid on: a commission basis; a transaction fee basis; through advertising; or not at all.
  • allow sellers to upload their own product pages or product advertisements.
  • provide an advertising service to sellers.
  • have regular sellers (for example, ones that operate their business from your site), or allow one-off sales. Sellers could be in business or be transacting privately.

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:

  • set out clearly how your business works and how sellers should operate
  • ensure buyers receive the quality of service that you aim to provide - and that you can act against third party sellers who overstep the boundaries
  • 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 sellers can advertise their goods, and what they cannot do)
  • protect your business from complaints about content that your sellers posted - particularly important if sellers can post product information or interact with buyers without you actively monitoring every post or message

Similar templates

This document only provides the terms between your business and sellers that sell goods through your marketplace website. You will need a matching document that regulates the relationship with buyers and other site visitors.

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.

Document contents

The 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 seller.

It includes terms relating to:

  • Definitions
  • Basis of contract between your business and the seller
  • Responsibility of the seller to provide accurate personal information to you
  • Product placement on your website
  • Delivery by the seller to the buyer
  • Seller's compliance with the Consumer Contracts (ICAC) Regulations 2013
  • Seller's compliance with your returns and refund policy
  • The selling procedure (detailing how a contract is formed between the seller and a buyer)
  • Value Added Tax
  • Order fulfilment
  • Fees payable to your business and payment to the seller
  • Terms of advertisement of a product
  • Warranties regarding products advertised on the site
  • Acceptable Use Policy
  • Restrictions on use of your website
  • Removal of offensive content
  • Security of your website
  • Protection of copyright and other intellectual property rights
  • Interruption to service
  • Disclaimers and limitation of liability
  • Miscellaneous legal matters to protect your business
Draftsman

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

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