General terms and conditions

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

The general terms and conditions state the rules that apply to both you and your customer. You do not have to use general terms and conditions, but if you use them, they apply to both you and you customer.

What are general terms and conditions?

Genereal terms and conditions are part of the (purchase) agreement. In them you can describe for instance:

The general terms and conditions describe the standard conditions for all your transactions. General terms and conditions are not about specifics of your product or service such as price or colour.

Are general terms and conditions mandatory

You are not required to draw up general terms and conditions. Legal requirements always apply to purchase agreements for you and your customer. In the Netherlands, several sector organisations, often together with consumer organisations, have jointly drawn up general terms and conditions. Please contact your sector organisation (MKB-Nederland, in Dutch) to find out if they have one for you to use. Some sector organisations do enforce the use of general terms and conditions, for instance in childcare.

If you do use general conditions, they apply to both you and your customer. You can file your general terms and conditions with the Chamber of Commerce (KVK) or with the court. This is also not mandatory.

Unreasonable conditions

You are not allowed to have unreasonable conditions (in Dutch). The law states what is unreasonable and which conditions may be unreasonable (in Dutch).

Duty of disclosure

If you want to apply general terms and conditions, you must inform your customer about your general terms and conditions before concluding the contract. Use clear language to draw up your general terms and conditions, and make sure your customer knows what they are.

Modifying general terms and conditions

You are allowed to change your general terms and conditions while you are doing business with a customer, but not on a whim. You must inform your customer about these changes in plain language.

  • If you supply continuing products or services, such as subscriptions, you are not allowed to simply change the general terms and conditions. You must comply with these rules:
  • On purchase it must be clear that you can change the conditions at any time.
  • You must inform your customer by sending them the changes in your general terms and conditions. A short note is not enough.
  • The changes must be reasonable. You customer should for instance be able to terminate the agreement (for example their subscription). And you are not allowed to change the price of a subscription within 3 months.

Annulling general terms and conditions

Your customer has the right to annul the general terms and conditions if one of the following is the case:

  • you fail to observe the rules for general terms and conditions: for instance, your terms are unreasonable;
  • you suddenly change your terms and fail to inform your customer clearly and in a timely fashion.

Annulment renders your general terms and conditions invalid.

Supplying to the Dutch national government

If you supply to the Dutch national government, several purchase and delivery terms and conditions apply:

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO