General terms and conditions
General terms and conditions are provisions set out in writing. Everything related to an agreement is arranged in them. This agreement can be concluded between various entrepreneurs or between entrepreneurs and customers. The terms and conditions can be about guarantees, liability, cooling-off periods, manners of payment or, for instance, how customers can make complaints. Once you have drawn up your terms and conditions, you do not have to go over them every time with customers.
Why do you need to draw up general terms and conditions?
General terms and conditions make clear from the start what the respective rights and duties of you and your customers are. The so-called 'fine print' will save you a lot of time. Your customers will know straight off what they are dealing with. General terms and conditions can decrease the risks you are running as an entrepreneur. Important issues which the general terms and conditions can cover:
- Liability: As an entrepreneur, in principle you can be held liable for all direct and indirect damage. Although you may never rule out your liability entirely, you can limit it via your terms and conditions.
- Payment term: The legal payment term for invoices is 30 days. If you want a shorter payment term for your invoices, you will need to have explicitly agreed this via your general terms and conditions or in a contract. It is also possible to extend the payment term.
- Retention of title: By including retention of title, you can ensure that as an entrepreneur you remain the owner of the item you deliver. This means that as owner, you have the right to reclaim the item as long as the invoice has not been paid. This also is the case if your counterparty goes bankrupt or into liquidation.
- Guarantee: If you are selling to consumers, your general terms and conditions may not infringe upon the legal guarantees that customers have. This is different than in sales to entrepreneurs, where there is more flexibility.
Drawing up general terms and conditions
Ensure that you draw up your general terms and conditions correctly right from the start. This will limit the risks that you will be running as entrepreneur. If any mishaps do arise, you will be happy that you have them. It is a good idea to have them checked annually to see whether they are still up to date.
Drawing up general terms and conditions can be done in several manners. You can simply do it yourself, or you can base yourself on various models. In any case, ensure that the terms and conditions that you draw up suit your business. Also make sure that they are clear to any readers. Read more about drawing up general terms and conditions.
Filing general terms and conditions
You can file your general terms and conditions with the Chamber of Commerce or the Court. Although this is not an obligation, it can prove to be useful. This means that they are easily retrievable and have a stronger evidentiary function, while it also creates a professional impression.