Can You Copy Terms of Service from Another Business?
- Answer commonly asked customer questions
- Reduce your liability
- Protect your intellectual property
- Control how disputes are handled
- Maintain control over your website and its users
Reasons You Should Not Copy a Terms of Service
Copying someone else’s website terms of service can have severe legal and ethical consequences, as it is a clear violation of copyright laws. By copying someone else’s TOS, you are essentially stealing their intellectual property and using it as your own. This is not only illegal, but it is also unethical and unprofessional.
If you need more reasons than THAT, keep reading.
Varying Business Practices
It is unlikely that the text of the copied Terms of Service is not the proper fit for your business because you may have completely different practices than the business from which you copied the Terms of Service. For example, the copied Terms of Service may not offer refunds but you do and you will need language that explains how it works.
Consumer Protection Laws
Some countries have very stringent rules on what Terms of Service can and cannot state regarding customer purchases. For example, some consumer protections laws may prohibit charging a cancellation fee. Failure to have a TOS that complies with these laws can cause the buyer to complain to the authorities and result in costly investigations and render your Terms of Service unenforceable. If you are copying someone else’s Terms of Service, they may be missing clauses that are compliant with those laws fi the laws do not apply to them or if they are not aware of those laws. Thus, it is imperative that you have a Terms of Service that is not copied, but rather is based on the laws that apply to your business.
Specific Disclosure Requirements
There have been lawsuits filed over the seeming minutiae of how a Terms of Service is written. For example, if certain terms are not in all caps, they are not considered conspicuous to consumers and thus may not be enforceable in all jurisdictions.
When you copy a Terms of Service, you are assuming that those Terms of Service include all of the protections that your business needs which is highly unlikely.
Even if Terms of Service you copy complies with the laws that apply to you, fits your business practices, and is written well, you will still need to perform edits which is a lengthy process and can lead to errors.
As you can see, there are many reasons not to copy other website’s Terms of Service but rather, it is advisable to use a reputable source. If you are looking for Terms of Service that is customized for your business and that includes all of the protections that you need, check out our affordable Website Policy Management Service.
We will create your TOS (and other policies) that complies with the laws that apply to you, fits your business practices, and will keep them updated as the laws change for $150 Setup + $99 per year.