The e-commerce industry is growing and is easing our lives. Even traditional businesses are either shifting online or at least have their own websites. But the online store does have to follow rules and regulations that are set by the authorities. You’ve to comply with consumer protection laws whether you are selling through a mobile app or a website. You need commercial litigation Solicitors near you to ensure that your company is following the rules.
The very first thing that litigation solicitors can help you with is policies. You need commercial litigation solicitors to define your terms and conditions. In this article, you’ll find information about this important topic. We’ve mentioned some basic guidelines that you should follow.
Defining Traders and Consumers
A trader is typically the person who acts within his/her business, trade or profession. But, when are online, it isn’t easy to determine who the trader is. For example, a webmaster who is running the website may not be the real trader. It is possible that the webmaster is only facilitating peer-to-peer transactions.
Similarly, a consumer is typically the person who acts outside his/her business, trade or profession. A consumer may be buying the product for leisure or work purposes. Consumers are the people who buy something to fulfill their consumption needs.
How to Form an Online Consumer Contract
Many traders don’t pay much attention to the terms and conditions that are written on their sites. Your online terms define your services, goods or digital content. Any media that consumers are downloading or streaming is considered as digital content. Such as in-game purchases, music files, or online books. In a way, your terms define consumer contracts.
CRA or the ‘Consumer Rights Act 2015” and its supporting regulations govern these online consumer contracts. These laws protect consumers case violate consumers rights or have unfair contract terms. Consumers’ courts take consumers as a less aware party as compared to business customers.
Unfair Contract Terms
The ‘Consumer Rights Act’ contains blacklisted or unfair terms that you must not write in a consumer contract. Even if you write unfair terms, consumers aren’t bound by them. There are also terms that come under the grey list. Though these aren’t unfair, these terms are considered unfair by the law. You must also avoid these terms to be on the safe side as a good businessperson.
Examples of Unfair Contract Terms
Here are a few examples of unfair contract terms that you should never write as conditions.
- Unilateral right to change the terms i.e. price, material or quantity after a contract has initiated.
- Inhibiting a consumer from recovering sums if a contract has been canceled
- Unjust financial penalties to consumers if they breach a contract
- Binding consumers for a long time under the contract
- Not paying the right compensation to a consumer
- Excluding your liability for personal injury or death of a consumer that happened due to your negligence
Penalties for unfair contract terms depend on the severity. You may have to face a financial penalty or have to pay heavy compensation. In case the breach is a serious one, you may be charged with criminal intent.
Your terms and conditions have to be clear and consumers must find them easy to understand. Avoid writing unfair conditions as the law favors consumers. Conversely, you can earn goodwill as a business by facilitating your consumers. This can also save you from disruptions, costly disputes, and bad publicity.