It is a pretty universally accepted fact that most people don’t actually read the terms and conditions and policies for the products and services that they use, they generally just click accept and move on. Thankfully, with the internet at our fingertips there is always someone (That’s me!) willing to read them and report back on any changes that may be odd or significantly different than previous versions. And that isn’t always easy to do, as most companies tend to delete their old policies when they replace them, making it hard to actually find the changes. Thankfully Shapeways isn’t one of those companies and actually archives all of their previous policies for review, but in general they tend to be a rather transparent company anyways.
Shapeways pretty regularly updates their terms and conditions and policies, adjusting them for unforeseen circumstances, to clarify or streamline information or just to fix a few spelling errors. This most recent update seems to be mostly set to clarify already existing policies and eliminate duplicate information between the User Terms and Conditions and the Shop Terms and Conditions. Shapeways also made a few minor changes to their API Terms and Conditions, and updated their Content Policy by finally taking their content policy precheck out of beta.
The changes to the Shop Terms and Conditions were mostly changes to the format that simplified them and incorporated the standard Shapeways Terms and Conditions. The old Shop terms often repeated information in the standard terms, but since shop owners need to have a basic Shapeways account, they now simply reference the terms and conditions that are identical so the entire section is easier to read.
One of the areas that did see a noticeable change was regarding returned or rejected orders. The new terms clarify that if a model is returned by a customer because of a Shapeways error, then they will continue to reprint the model at their expense and still pay shop owners their markup. However if a model is returned due to the designer’s error due to a problem with the original 3D model, then Shapeways is reserving the right to withhold payment from the shop. While they say that they are still looking into exactly how they will handle those situations, it is likely that designers will be on the hook for any poor design choices at some point.
“The changes to the terms give us the ability to begin testing rules governing what happens when a product is returned due to designer error. The process of exploring options will take some time, and we will strive to do it in an open, inclusive way. Expect to hear more about the process soon. Until we roll out a more formal tests, designers will at most receive warnings that their model was returned due to what we believe to be their error. To put it another way, we will not begin withholding markups for returned or rejected models until we have new rules in place,” explained Shapeways General Counsel Michael Weinberg on his blog post about the updates.
The updates to the Shop Terms and Conditions also included stronger language regarding the importance of having shop owners PayPal information up to date, some tax information on high performing shops and the confidentiality terms were linked to the Shapeways privacy statement. The standard Terms and Conditions clarified their content policy so it is clear that if a model violates it they will not print it, but will issue a refund. However, if they do not discover the violation until after the model is printed, they will not issue a refund, but will also not ship the model. They have also taken the Content Policy Precheck out of beta, so if anyone is concerned that something will violate the Shapeways Content Policy they can email ahead of time to verify the 3D model before any orders are submitted. You can read the entire update summary over on the Shapeways blog. Are you concerned about their updates? Discuss in the Shapeways Update to 3D Policies forum over at 3DPB.com.