COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Help with Writing Terms of Service

October 24, 2012

Everyone who has ever used the internet to download a program or gain access to a service has had to read and agree to Terms of Service (TOS). In certain circumstances, they might be called an End User License Agreement (EULA). Both types of agreements accomplish roughly the same things: they outline the terms and conditions upon which a customer is permitted to utilize a good or service. Though often overlooked, they are integral cogs in the operation of a business and the delivery of products and services.

These types of agreements are binding contracts, just like any other. Specifically, they are called "adhesion contracts". The difference between a regular contract and an adhesion contract is that in a regular contract, the customer is free to negotiate terms with the business entity. In an adhesion contract, the customer must agree to the terms outlined by the business entity, or else the customer will not have the privilege of utilizing the good or service at all. Another way to look at it is that typical contracts differ based on the interests of the parties negotiating their terms. An adhesion contract looks the same no matter whom the customer is.

Terms of Service are important tools for the successful business entity in that they make the customer operate by a defined set of rules that the business can dictate. Terms of Service also typically contain protections that the business entity doesn't even know it needs: the so-called "fine print." Fortunately, an experienced California business lawyer is an expert in drafting the fine print.

A business attorney may recommend a multitude of fine print provisions for your Terms of Service. For example, it may be advantageous for your company to dictate the choice of venue for the resolution of business disputes. This is an important provision because it forces a litigious customer to bring a lawsuit on your home turf, subject to the local laws under which you operate and subject to a more sympathetic local jury pool. Similarly, your attorney may recommend some provisions regarding any disclaimers or warranties your company may want to make in regard to your products or services. Overzealous warranties may expose your company to litigation in the future, while certain disclaimers may violate the laws of your jurisdiction. Other typical provisions include privacy policies, intellectual property rights, licensing, and accepted and prohibited uses of the product or service.

Even if your business merely uses a web site to help promote itself, it is a very good idea to draft Terms of Use solely for the website. These Terms of Use help web site visitors understand what kind of use and behavior is acceptable and unacceptable while accessing your web site, and give you authority to bring civil or criminal charges against web site visitors who are needlessly destructive, lewd, obscene, or otherwise disruptive of your customers' use; and your maintenance; of your web site.

A California business attorney can craft Terms of Service, Terms of Use, or End User License Agreements uniquely tailored to the legal protection of your business.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Kristina Reed handled the legal work of creating a corporation for my photography business in the state of California. She was extremely professional to work with and very prompt in her response times. She explained everything in language I could understand and helped me navigate the process smoothly from start to finish. I was very happy with her services and will definitely return to her for any future needs! Amy W.
★★★★★
As the co-owner of a small business, the process of selling assets was overwhelming. It was great to have [Kristina Reed's] advice throughout every step of a very demanding and hectic process. We were very pleased with [Kristina Reed's] class, focus and approachability. [Kristina Reed] always acted as a valued associate to the company and became a reliable advisor. Furthermore, we thank [Kristina Reed] for [her] calm encouragement when it was most needed would recommend [her] expertise unequivocally. Todd S.
★★★★★
I reached out to Kristina to assist with drafting some contractual real estate paperwork, and was not disappointed. She provided a prompt response and was very helpful in accommodating my request. Her expertise ensured a thorough conclusion. I would gladly recommend Kristina to other individuals needing real estate expertise. Stephen R.
★★★★★
I'm extremely impressed with my experience with Kristina Reed. I used her services to negotiate a commercial lease in Folsom. Our agent had actually recommended a few attorneys to us but we didn't feel comfortable with any of them. I was very impressed with Kristina on our first conversation. The landlord group was one of the hardest you can find to deal with. There were lots of going back and forth but Kristina's knowledge and experience made my life very easy. She was always quick to get back to us whenever we have questions. She pointed out issues on my lease that my previous lawyer totally missed. I recommend Kristina's services to everyone I know. My friend just used Kristina's services for his lease negotiation in Davis and he was very impressed as well. Devin B.