Online Terms of Service: How to Close Any Gaps

As a business, you likely have online terms of service. However, they may not be legally binding. For them to be effective and binding, you must meet a few requirements. Take a closer look at what you need to include and learn how to close any gaps in your terms of service.


Understanding Terms of Service

Let’s briefly discuss what this means before getting into whether your terms of service are enforceable and how to close gaps. Terms of service or terms and conditions refer to the rules you outline for people who use your website, program, or application.

They usually include provisions for opting out, accountability, liability, acceptable use, privacy policies, payment details, and user rights and responsibilities.


Terms of Service Is Not Required, But It’s Smart to Have Them

It’s important to note that you don’t legally need to have a terms of service agreement. Still, you must have a privacy policy that protects sensitive data, like billing information, names, email addresses, and shipping addresses.


You will find it suitable to include that privacy policy in your terms of service. It is a smart way to prevent abuse and set expectations. It also helps outline copyright information and what happens to abusive users.


Overall, having terms of service provides the following benefits:

  • Prevention of abuse
  • The freedom to terminate accounts of abusive users
  • Copyright and ownership of your content
  • A limit to your liability
  • Setting your governing law (specifying which country or state’s law you are following)
  • Outlining arbitration policies
  • Permission to collect, store, and share personal data


Types of Terms of Service

There are two main types of terms of service. These are the following:


Browsewrap Agreements

These are simply displayed on the website and don’t include a button to click.


Clickwrap Agreements

These require users to click a button to accept the terms.


Are Your Terms of Service Enforceable?

The big question for most companies is whether your terms of service are enforceable. At the very least, the terms of service must be obvious and can’t be buried in the footer. If it’s just a browsewrap in the footer, it is unlikely to be enforceable. You will find it much easier to enforce a clickwrap that requires a physical action.



You aren’t legally required to have terms of service on your website, software, or app, but companies are smart to include them. For these terms to be enforceable, they must be obvious and require users to acknowledge them by doing a specific action, such as clicking a button.