If you're a coach or instructor with an online course, your course should have terms and conditions just like any other website.
And not only are these terms what I consider a "must-have" they should be very specific to the fact that you're selling an online course.
Online courses have nuances that separate them from services and other products due to their digital nature and method of instruction.
Let's talk about what should be in these terms and why they are important to have.
Terms and conditions are vital on your website if you're selling anything. Consider it the rule book for your site.
It lets visitors know what your policies are, the dos and don'ts and may provide you some legal recourse should someone violate these policies.
With an online course this is particularly important because the content is entirely digital and your intellectual property is at stake.
Because your IP is so valuable, at minimum you want a clause that protects what you are sharing with others.
So what is IP? It's your valuable, intangible creative content that in the case of a course, is bundled in your video recordings, guides, checklists, etc. that make up your content.
Your online terms should have a clause that strictly prohibits copying and distributing your program content.
Give members a license to use the material as a learning tool but not for profit. You as the copyright owner must retain all rights to the content you create within your course.
Another important part to include in your online course terms and conditions is a section all about refunds.
Depending on the way your course is set up, you may take only 1x payments or use a payment plan. Either way you want to have a section you can direct your customers to that explains your refund policy.
Perhaps you only give refunds for 2 weeks after purchase or maybe you don't give refunds, but whatever your policy, make it clear in your terms and conditions so that your policy is documented in case there is a dispute.
With an online course, you're seen as an expert in a certain topic. And that's generally a good thing right? After all, customers are purchasing from you to gain the valuable insight you bring in a particular area.
But with that comes the risk of customers not being satisfied if you do not deliver in ways that they expect. They can complain publicly that you did not deliver on your promises or demand a refund if they feel you misrepresented the the outcomes of the product.
Having a no guarantees clause is an excellent way to make clear that you do not promise any particular outcome from a user's experience with the course.
Your terms should state that the course is being provided for educational and informational purposes and was not created to produce specific outcomes.
Along with the no guarantees clause, it's helpful to tack on an Errors and Omissions clause which explains that while your intent is to provide timely, useful content, you cannot promise that the course will be error free.
The purpose of this section is to limit liability for any customer expectations of perfection and %100 uptime without any errors.
Courses have hiccups sometimes and you may not catch every error so it's good to make that clear from the start.
Depending on your course, your students may interact with each other on your course platform, via group calls or social media in a group forum.
Some course topics cover sensitive matters and personal information and experiences may be shared by and between the students.
I like to include a specific confidentiality clause that requires students to maintain the privacy of other students and to keep all of the materials provided in the course confidential.
You do not want participants sharing the private details of other members or your intellectual property for that matter so a confidentiality clause is important.
Check out my website terms where I have all types of T&Cs for your website, licensed products, online course and membership.
And if you don’t see something, let me know. I’m always adding new contract templates to the store.
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This blog posting is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not provided for specific, individual legal advice.
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