Commercial LawCompany creation / Startups

Commercial law: E-commerce: what is the purpose of the general terms and conditions of sale? 

The general terms and conditions of sale (GTC) are available on the websites of most e-commerce companies. What is their purpose? Lawrence answers this question in this article. 

What are the general conditions of sale?

The GTC establish the legal framework of an online sale and the relationship between seller and customer. They are collected in a document that appears on the e-commerce’s website. 

When the customer approves the GTC, they become part of the sales contract.

Swiss law states that the legal basis of a sale is defined by a contract.

The GTC require the approval of both parties. The document must either be clearly visible and easily accessible or a “GTC read and approved at the time of the transaction” box should be ticked by the customer. The clearer the approval, the more the court will support the seller in the event of a dispute.


What are the GTCs for?

The main role of the GTC is to ensure the legal protection of the seller. It is in the seller’s best interest to draw up a complete document that cannot be interpreted. A specialised lawyer can draft the GTCs for any e-commerce. 

The GTC also inform the customer of the legal frame of the sale and define the responsibilities of each party in the event of a dispute.

All stages of the sale must be defined in the GTC to ensure protection:

  • Warranty,
  • Data protection,
  • Orders (payment, invoicing, etc.),
  • Delivery (delivery times, country, etc.),
  • Liability if the goods are damaged during shipment,
  • The return policy,
  • Applicable law and place of jurisdiction.

You can’t include unfair terms; it is against the law! 

If there is a risk for the customer, this must be expressly stated in the GTC.


Do you need general terms and conditions for your e-commerce, or would you like to renew them? Lawrence writes your general terms and conditions from CHF 500!


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