Website Terms of Use & Privacy Policies

Protect your Colorado-based company with a rock solid Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

Terms of Use & Privacy Policies

You’ve seen links to website terms at the bottom of web pages, and you’ve been asked to agree to them when making online purchases. But do you really need personalized Terms of Use and a Privacy Policy for your small business website?

The short answer:

Terms of Use. Are not required by law, but you should probably have them. (AKA Terms of Service/Terms & Conditions)

Privacy Policies. Financial institutions, healthcare providers, and websites directed to children are required by law to post a privacy policy. Additionally, Privacy Policies are required by law in some states and countries, such as California and European Union countries. While you may not be doing business in these locations, the fact that citizens of these areas access your website may legally require you to have a privacy policy.

The less short answer:

Undoubtedly, your Terms of Use and Privacy Policy will be the most boring pages on your website (If not, it’s time to redo that website!), but taking the time to determine whether you need them are essential to protecting your website content and limiting your liability.

Can you copy & paste website terms from another site? While a deceptively inexpensive and easier option, it is not recommended. The terms you post on your website are contractual promises that you are making with everyone who visits your site. This means that someone can take you to court for failure to abide by those promises. When you use website terms from another company, you may be making promises that are not true or that you do not want to make. For instance, some terms will promise to provide the highest degree of security, not to collect or share any customer data, or offer unlimited warranties on products. Additionally, copy & paste could result in a copyright violation of another company’s intellectual property. Therefore, copy & paste is not a smart option for businesses that wish to maximize legal protections and minimize exposure.

We have worked with various businesses to determine what website terms they need, if anything at all, and to draft personalized website terms that address the specific needs and offerings of our clients. For instance, we recently assisted an online natural products store and an adventure travel company implement the terms best suited to their offerings.

To determine what terms are necessary for a website, we usually begin by reviewing a client’s website, or if not yet launched, assessing a client’s website plans and business offerings. If your website needs terms, we’ll agree on a plan and timeline for completion. If your website doesn’t need terms, we’ll send you on your way with an understanding of what changes in your business will require you to eventually post website terms.

Next Steps

Contact us to discuss your Terms of Use and Privacy Policy requirements. We’ve drafted website terms for companies providing services and products locally, domestically, and internationally, and we look forward to working with you as well.


Learn more about Terms of Use and Privacy Policies…

What are website Terms of Use? Terms of Use are the rules a visitor to your website must agree to if they wish to use your website, app, etc. It is a legal contract between your company and each visitor to your website. Therefore, Terms of Use are governed by contract law, and if violated, can be enforced in a court of law.

Essential Clauses in Terms of Use. The exact clauses will vary by industry and the services or products offered on a website. But there are basic clauses that most Terms of Use include.

  • Limitations of Company Liability
  • Ownership of the Website & Content
  • Age Use Restrictions (websites for children must comply with specific laws)
  • Payment Terms- returns, exchanges, etc.
  • User Account Rules and Restrictions
  • Disclaimers- general and website specific
  • Linking Restrictions
  • Warranty Disclaimers and Rights
  • How Disputes with Users will be Resolved
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Governing Law
  • Prohibitions on copying the website
  • Prohibitions on posting inappropriate user content
  • Prohibitions against sabotaging the website or website traffic

One Size Does Not Fit All. The essential terms of your Terms of Use are determined by your industry, business offerings, and the commercial relationship with your website users. Copying terms from a competitor or random company may violate copyright law, as well as get you into trouble down the road. For example, if you do not understand the terms you are posting, you may be making promises to your website users that you do not wish to make. Terms drafted to fit the exact needs of your business will help you avoid costly mistakes and minimize your exposure.

Examples of Companies that need Terms of Use

  • Companies that sell products or services online
  • Companies that allow users to post messages or any other content
  • Companies that market to children
  • Healthcare or financial companies
  • Companies that create and share content- articles, videos, or audio

What is a website Privacy Policy? Online Privacy Policies explain to website visitors how a company collects, uses, discloses, and manages a visitor’s personal information. Generally, personal information means any data that can be used to identify an individual. Such as a name, email address, phone number, or certain combinations of personal information.

Companies that do not abide by the terms of their privacy policy have been charged with violations of the Federal Trade Commission’s prohibition against unfair and deceptive trade practices. As a result, it is essential that you know what your privacy policy says and what it requires, before posting it to your website.

Essential Privacy Policy Clauses. The exact clauses will vary depending on a company’s data collection practices and industry. But most Privacy Policies include these general clauses.

  • What information is collected from the user
  • The ways the user’s information is used
  • How the user’s information is shared or sold to third parties
  • A cookie disclaimer and a description of the cookies used on the site
  • How user information is secured
  • How the website responds to “Do Not Track” requests for a user’s geo-location

U.S. Privacy Policy Laws. California requires that all websites that collect personal information about California state residents post a privacy policy if the information is collected for the purpose of providing most types of goods or services. Even if a company does not target California residents, most companies post a privacy policy because anyone in the world could visit their website, including a California resident.

Best Practice & Consumer Confidence. Positing a Privacy Policy fosters customer confidence and trust. A clear privacy policy shows customers that you respect their privacy rights.

Do you use Google Adwords, Analytics, or AdSense? Google requires that you post a privacy policy on your website if your use Google AdWords, Analytics, or AdSense. In addition, other third party web services may require you to post a privacy policy.

One Size Does Not Fit All. Copying the Privacy Policy of another business may seem like an easy solution, but you’re probably better off not having one at all than copy and pasting from another website. The Privacy Policy you post on your website is a legal promise you make to everyone that visits your site, and you can be held accountable for not following the terms of your privacy policy. Therefore, you should understand exactly what your privacy policy requires and if it’s applicable to your business before you post it. Additionally, you should not over promise in your privacy policy. While you may want to provide the highest level of privacy and data security, keeping pace with changing technologies is challenging and may not be feasible for your company. Furthermore, it could seriously limit your ability to use customer data to deliver new services and grow your offerings.