5 mistakes people make when selling goods/service online.
- No clear Terms of Sale.
- Terms of Sale are the terms which a buyer and seller agree upon when a transaction is made. They define both parties’ obligations and rights which is essential when a contract is formed. If terms are not clear you could find yourself in a legal dispute over unclear terms or terms that were not covered.
- Make sure all bases are covered, from complaints policy to returns and refunds as well as limiting any liabilities or warranties, all in one place in a set of clear, technical jargon – free terms that avoid legalese and ambiguity.
- Not being clear on who the seller is.
- A consumer is unlikely to purchase something from your site if they do not know who the seller is. Therefore, you must clearly state whether the seller is a company, an individual or a partnership. Corporate information, branding and the company name, registered address and company number should be listed in order to make this clear to the consumer. This information is also legally required to be present on your site.
- Be clear what your branding or corporate structure looks like to the consumer online. Who is it that they are buying from? If this is unclear, they will be put off.
- Using someone else’s terms and documents.
- Each business is different therefore someone else’s terms of sale may not apply to your business. For example, their cancellation terms or return policy may not correspond with those you comply with. They may also be written for a different type of website or one subject to the laws of a different Country.
- Too often we see sites selling goods or services where they have clearly “borrowed” their terms from another website. Referring to delivery or dispatch in your terms when you are a marketing company isn’t a great look. Neither is referring to being governed by the law of the state of New York when you operate out of Birmingham.
- Not listing business details or contact information.
- Legally speaking all businesses must list their company number and registered office address on their website. Contact details such as a telephone number and/or an email address should also be listed. Don’t just rely on a contact form.
- You have to list a physical trading address on your site as well as a contact phone number – leaving this vague or in any way unclear is not an option.
- Ignoring privacy and cookies.
- Even if you are not operating interactivity or a blog, recording comments, running banners or advertising or selling very much compared to Amazon, you still need a full cookie schedule and to inform visitors to the site how their data will be used. Users are becoming increasingly aware of how their personal data is collected and shared online, and if you are silent on this point consumers will only presume the worst.
For the avoidance of doubt all five of our points above apply if you are doing business through a website or App.
Digital Law has been advising clients around the world on how to structure their website terms, privacy, cookies and corporate compliance online. From Leeds to London, Sheffield to Sydney and Newcastle to New York we have been helping businesses when it comes to doing business online to access new markets in the UK, Europe or elsewhere, be it selling goods or services, running a one-off promotion or competition.
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