When selling to consumers, you will more often than not use your own standard terms without much, if any, negotiation – i.e. your customer will either accept or decline before making a purchase.
Depending on what you sell – whether goods, services or digital content; and the way you sell - whether on-premises, off-premises or distance-selling, you will be bound by various consumers protection legislation that you can’t contract out of. These rules are there to protect consumers’ rights by prohibiting or preventing businesses from imposing unfair practice.
Although there will be specifics for your business, generally you must make sure that:
There are some differences when selling to a business. You will have more freedom to negotiate contractual terms with a business on the basis of your best interest, including disapplying certain terms implied under the law.
However, although it is generally assumed that businesses have equal bargaining power, this is not always the case. The courts are often more ready to uphold what businesses have agreed unless the facts paint a different picture.
Another thing to consider is if you use your own standard terms & conditions for your customers then those terms, especially liability limitation and exclusion provisions, must be reasonable to be enforceable under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.