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Shopify Terms, Conditions and The Commandment of Control

AvocadoMan

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Apr 14, 2017
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While shopify makes the whole process of creating an online store a lot easier than simply doing it yourself without the help of an E-commerce platform, from what I have read in it's terms and conditions you are handing over control completely and your business operates at their discretion. They can terminate your business without notice, without reason - at any moment they wish to do so.

While this is not something that they would do very often - it is something they can do and it is a clear violation of control.

My impression is that it is very easy to set up but spending the extra time and energy required to create your own platform that is not governed by the terms and conditions of a company such as spotify, is a much safer option.

If anyone else has thoughts on this AFTER READING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS please share what you think.


1. Account Terms
  1. You must be 18 years or older or at least the age of majority in the jurisdiction where you reside or from which you use this Service.
  2. To access and use the Services, you must register for a Shopify account (“Account”) by providing your full legal name, current address, phone number, a valid email address, and any other information indicated as required. Shopify may reject your application for an Account, or cancel an existing Account, for any reason, in our sole discretion.
  3. You acknowledge that Shopify will use the email address you provide as the primary method for communication.
  4. You are responsible for keeping your password secure. Shopify cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage from your failure to maintain the security of your Account and password.
  5. You are responsible for all activity and content such as photos, images, videos, graphics, written content, audio files, code, information, or data uploaded, collected, generated, stored, displayed, distributed, transmitted or exhibited on or in connection with your Account (“Materials”).
  6. A breach or violation of any term in the Terms of Service, including the AUP, as determined in the sole discretion of Shopify will result in an immediate termination of your services.


    4. Shopify Rights
    1. We reserve the right to modify or terminate the Service for any reason, without notice at any time.
    2. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time.
    3. We may, but have no obligation to, remove Materials and suspend or terminate Accounts if we determine in our sole discretion that the goods or services offered via a store, or the Materials uploaded or posted to a store, violate our Acceptable Use Policy (“AUP”) or these Terms of Service.
    4. Verbal or written abuse of any kind (including threats of abuse or retribution) of any Shopify customer, Shopify employee, member, or officer will result in immediate Account termination.
    5. Shopify does not pre-screen Materials and it is in our sole discretion to refuse or remove any Materials from the Service.
    6. We reserve the right to provide our services to your competitors and make no promise of exclusivity in any particular market segment. You further acknowledge and agree that Shopify employees and contractors may also be Shopify customers/merchants and that they may compete with you, although they may not use your confidential information in doing so.
    7. In the event of a dispute regarding Account ownership, we reserve the right to request documentation to determine or confirm Account ownership. Documentation may include, but is not limited to, a scanned copy of your business license, government issued photo ID, the last four digits of the credit card on file, etc.
    8. Shopify retains the right to determine, in our sole judgment, rightful Account ownership and transfer an Account to the rightful owner. If we are unable to reasonably determine the rightful Account owner, Shopify reserves the right to temporarily disable an Account until resolution has been determined between the disputing parties.



14. Modifications to the Service and Prices
  1. Prices for using the Services are subject to change upon 30 days’ notice from Shopify. Such notice may be provided at any time by posting the changes to the Shopify Site (shopify.com) or the administration menu of your Shopify store via an announcement.
  2. Shopify reserves the right at any time, and from time to time, to modify or discontinue, the Service (or any part thereof) with or without notice.
  3. Shopify shall not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, price change, suspension or discontinuance of the Service.
 

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AvocadoMan

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I would like to add to this that from what I have noted through my research - the most successful eCommerce sites are not built through eCommerce platforms. They are coded by developers and have no governing body overseeing them aside from the obvious such as laws and regulations. They have ultimate control over their website, within reason.
 

amp0193

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Great post @AvocadoMan, there's definitely truth in this.

Like when Shopify decided they didn't want to host gun products anymore: Shopify Shuts Down Online Gun Dealers - Omaha Outdoors


When my site first launched, I took in tons of pre-order money, months in advance of shipping product. Shopify made me go through an extensive review process, meanwhile holding funds, until they could verify that I was actually legit.


That being said, although you do give up some control, it's not the end of the world if they kick you off. You pay a developer to rebuild the site, and you move on. The vast majority of people will never have anything happen to them.

It's not like, say, depending on google seo or amazon search rankings. If something happens there... you can't just replicate it, you're toast.
 

pkom79

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Many services that businesses use every day have included in their term and conditions possibility of termination or suspension of accounts.

Any credit card processing company can cancel your account and freeze your funds. Facebook can shut down your ad account. Google can suspend your account. Amazon can kick you off their platform. Your bank can close your credit card account.

Anyone heard any PayPal horror stories?

You generally have to violate their terms of service before that happens or their risk management department flags your account as high risk (for example probability of high rate of chargebacks). They won't do it just to piss you off :)

There are many huge businesses built on Shopify, making millions of dollars every month so I wouldn't worry about Shopify not being fastlane.
 

Laughingman21

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Whilst it may technically violate the Commandment of Control, it does allow you to build and test the market very quickly at a very low cost. If after that you find that your new online store is profitable, then you can look into getting a developer to build something customised.

As @pkom79 said, it's very hard to completely avoid ToS from companies now that doesn't give them the ability to cancel their services. That said, most businesses don't want to lose customers so are very unlikely to cancel them without a very good reason.
 

Ecom man

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Of course Shopify reserves the right to remove sites. If not people could use them for seedy crap and then sue them if they took their site down.

There is nothing in life that you control 100%. NOTHING. You can’t control your health, your wealth, or even if you live or die. All you can do is skew control in your favor. Skew control of your health by eating right and exercising. Skew control of your wealth by being a business owner instead of working 9-5 for 50/60 years.

Yes, technically you give up some control to Shopify. But even if you don’t use Shopify who is your payment processor on this website you set up yourself? They have some control. Who is driving your traffic? They have some control. Free traffic? What if google delisted your site?

The point to control is control as many variables as possible not to control 100% Shopify IMO fits just fine.
 
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AvocadoMan

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Of course Shopify reserves the right to remove sites. If not people could use them for seedy crap and then sue them if they took their site down.

There is nothing in life that you control 100%. NOTHING. You can’t control your health, your wealth, or even if you live or die. All you can do is skew control in your favor. Skew control of your health by eating right and exercising. Skew control of your wealth by being a business owner instead of working 9-5 for 50/60 years.

Yes, technically you give up some control to Shopify. But even if you don’t use Shopify who is your payment processor on this website you set up yourself? They have some control. Who is driving your traffic? They have some control. Free traffic? What if google delisted your site?

The point to control is control as many variables as possible not to control 100% Shopify IMO fits just fine.
This is a great point. Thankyou very much!
 
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AvocadoMan

Bronze Contributor
Apr 14, 2017
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Whilst it may technically violate the Commandment of Control, it does allow you to build and test the market very quickly at a very low cost. If after that you find that your new online store is profitable, then you can look into getting a developer to build something customised.

As @pkom79 said, it's very hard to completely avoid ToS from companies now that doesn't give them the ability to cancel their services. That said, most businesses don't want to lose customers so are very unlikely to cancel them without a very good reason.
This is very true and also a fantastic point. Thanks a tonne.
 

Kruiser

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Most companies you will likely rely on for your ecom business are going to have terms like this if they have halfway competent attorneys (Amazon, FB, Pinterest, Google, etc.). They don't intend any harm. They just need to be able to protect their brand if you do something crazy.

The risk is largely theoretical. But, as @amp0193 pointed out with the Shopify gun store example, not entirely theoretical.
 
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AvocadoMan

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Apr 14, 2017
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Most companies you will likely rely on for your ecom business are going to have terms like this if they have halfway competent attorneys (Amazon, FB, Pinterest, Google, etc.). They don't intend any harm. They just need to be able to protect their brand if you do something crazy.

The risk is largely theoretical. But, as @amp0193 pointed out with the Shopify gun store example, not entirely theoretical.
Loved your post on TRT. Solid!
 

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