Social Media is fast becoming a powerful business tool with small businesses using this as their main method of marketing, however it is still important to have a website for your business. Every business owner will want their website to be attractive, appealing and engaging but most importantly it needs to be legal!
With the focus being predominately on getting customers, often it seems businesses overlook the legal requirements for websites.
I would hope that every website would have this information clearly stated. For a registered company, the website needs to display the business name, place of registration, registration number and its registered office address. A valid contact email address should also be clearly displayed; a contact form alone is not good enough. If you have all this then great…. Good start!
This law dictates that users of your website must give express permission to be sent marketing emails. If people have signed up to your mailing list on your website, or have checked a box to say, ‘I would like to receive newsletters’ (or something more quirky) then great news that counts as permission! GDPR however has gone one step further and by May of next year, this box must NOT be pre-ticked. Once you have the permission to email your lovely marketing, this law requires you to provide a link or instructions on how to unsubscribe from your newsletter emails in EVERY email!
Once you have all the above sorted you are legal!
If you are selling products on your website then this throws some more legal issues at you. You must clearly display a link to your terms and conditions of purchase, your delivery options, and returns/refunds/exchange policy. If you are selling to consumers then this is even more important. Not only does it protect your customers, it also protects you. By not having any Terms & Conditions in place you are breaking the law and legally leaving yourself very exposed. Furthermore if you are taking payments then this has even more legal implications.
Failure to comply with the above can result in fines being received. The Information Commissioner’s Office and local Trading Standards offices can bring action against your business and so can the website user if the individual can demonstrate a loss as a result of your website failing to comply. The ICO will be hotter than ever once the GDPR is in place, don’t leave yourself open, make sure you’re legal!
Don’t copy and paste from other websites, not only is this copyright, you run the risk of copying content that is not legally compliant or copying complete rubbish. It certainly will not be bespoke to your business and should you see yourself involved in a legal dispute you may not be able to rely on it in court.
BEB can assist with making sure your website is legal, drafting your terms and conditions or policies and answering any questions you may have.