Protect yourself with a payments Terms of Service

Accepting payments online reduces the work for you and your customer, and can get you paid faster. This guide teaches you how to write a terms of service that works for your business. It also shows you how to present your terms on your Wave invoice so your customer must accept them before paying.

A terms of service protects your business

If a customer isn’t happy with your service or is in financial distress, they may choose to dispute their credit card payment instead of asking for a refund.

It can be an administrative hassle to fight a payment dispute. It can cost you more than you would have been paid in the first place.

In many cases simple terms of service can give you the documentation you need if your customer disputes a payment. You can use these same terms with multiple customers. A bit of work now can save you a lot of time and money later.

If you’re providing a complex service, you may need a contract with your client to make sure you’re both clear on what is being paid for.

Writing your first terms of service

Use the sample terms attached at the bottom of this article as a starting point. You may not need every section. You can customize each section for your business.

Description of Service

Make sure your customer is clear about what they are receiving and when they should expect to receive it.

If you sell services this could look like “I agree that I am paying to have my lawn cut every Tuesday for a month.” If you sell products this could look like “I agree to purchase the products listed in the invoice.”

Whether you sell services or products, a description of service ensures that your cardholder is aware and ready to accept your services before paying.

Refund Policy

Your business may allow refunds. To read about how to create a refund policy, check out the guide here.

Cancellation Policy

Life is unpredictable, but cancellations don’t have to be. Maybe your customer changed their mind in the middle of receiving your service, or decided they no longer need it. This is where cancellation policies come in handy. Having one up front will help you navigate these circumstances later on.

Shipping Policy

If you ship products, define where you ship, who you ship to, and what they can expect from shipping. To read about how to create a shipping policy, check out the guide here.

Force Majeure

This pre-written policy in the provided template ensures that your business is protected in extreme weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances. It will help prevent clients from holding things which are outside of your control against you if you cannot provide your services or products.

For example, if you are a wedding planner, and it rains on your client's wedding day, the force majeure clause helps ensure that you are not held liable for this. 

Limitation of Liability

This pre-written policy in the provided template can be used to protect your business against any damages that may be caused as a result of your work.

For example, while building a swimming pool, a patio tile breaks. The limitation of liability clause helps make sure that replacing the patio doesn’t fall on you.

No Guarantee

This pre-written policy in the provided template is particularly handy if you are delivering a service that might not be a physical product.

For example, as a fitness coach you include in your terms of service that while you are able to coach and guide your customer, you cannot guarantee they will be in better shape after working with you. 

How to use your Terms of Service in Wave

  1. Copy the text from your Terms of Service document and paste it into the Notes/Terms section of an invoice. You won’t be able to format text in this section, so keep the formatting simple.
  2. In the Terms Acceptance section, select Require this customer to agree to terms of service

  3. Your customer will be required to check a box that ensures they’ve read and agree to the Terms of Service on the invoice before they can make a payment by credit card.

We've put this together as a starting point, but this is not a substitute for legal advice. If you require further help with your Terms of Service, we recommend contacting a lawyer.

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