Do Terms and Conditions Reallly Matter if No-one Ever Reads Them?

“No-one ever looks at our Terms and Conditions”

This is what a new client told me recently – when both the Managing and Sales Directors confessed to never having read their own company’s terms and conditions of sale. So, the question is: ‘Do Terms and Conditions really matter if no-one ever reads them?’

If there should be an area of dispute between you and one of your customers, your terms and conditions – provided they apply to the transaction at hand – will be the rule book by which any misunderstandings can be resolved and your business relationship preserved.

Unfortunately, for some organisations, this is the first time they take any real interest in them.

The problem with this approach, is that it equates to buying an insurance policy in a sealed envelope – without having any idea of the cover it provides – and only looking at it in the event that you need to make a claim. By then, if the policy does not cover the circumstances of your claim, it will not protect you. The same applies to your terms and conditions.

So, even if you only plan to use your terms and conditions in the event of a dispute, (and anyone who has read my previous article on Using Terms and Conditions as a Sales Tool will know that they can be so much more useful than that,) you might think it wise to ensure they are carefully drafted.

Do your terms and conditions reflect your particular circumstances, and set them out in such a way that both you and your customers can refer to (and understand) them whenappropriate? If not, now might be a good time to shut the stable door before the horse has bolted.