Set up a website
Having a website is a key tool for your business to advertise products, generate trade and provide key information. However, when setting up a website there are a number of security and safety aspects to be aware of:
When setting up a website for your business it is important to secure it through encryption. A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) creates an encrypted connection between web server and web browser, allowing for private information to be transmitted between yourself and the consumer in a secure way.
Consumers with online safety awareness will not share information or purchase items from your website if it is not SSL certified. As such, it is in the interest of your businesses to ensure you have the necessary security in place to protect your business and consumers.
Advice on Trading Standards law for websites
Laws relating to Trading Standards require that businesses provide specific information on their website.
All businesses, regardless of whether they sell online or not must provide the following:
- The trading name of the business
- The full address where the business is established
- The companies’ registration number
- Which part of the UK the company is registered in (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales)
- The registered office address of the company
A business selling goods online must provide additional information:
- A telephone number and email address for consumer enquiries and complaints
- A complaint handling policy
- The name and address of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entity or a link to the Online Dispute Resolution Platform
- An accurate description of advertised goods
- Total price (VAT included) and any additional costs relating to the sale of goods
- Delivery costs and how it can be calculated
- The VAT number (where applicable)
When confirming an order, the website must provide the buyer with a summary page, detailing the following:
- A clear description of the main features of the product(s) or services being purchased
- The total price of the product(s) or services (including taxes, i.e. VAT)
- A clear breakdown of any delivery charges or any other charges (where they apply)
- The website must make it clear that in clicking buy/confirm order, the consumer is submitting their order and under obligation to pay for it
- All details relating to the returns/cancellation policy and basic return delivery costs (14 days after the consumer has received the goods in most cases), unless the goods are exempted
Whatever the returns policy is, it must be outlined on the website
Further Terms and conditions to be aware of
A businesses terms and conditions should be clearly set out relating to what should happen in any given situation – including:
- A clear definition of what products or services will be provided
- Setting out payment terms – when it is due
- All guarantees or warranties offered
- Timelines for delivery and any queries
- Specifying what happened in the event that either party does not deliver or pay or wants to end the relationship
- The term of the agreement, including notice and how to withdraw
- Which law shall govern the contract
Terms and conditions must be fair. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 aims to protect consumers against unfair contract terms and notices.
Before creating terms and conditions for your businesses website, you should read the advice provided by the Competition and Markets Authority, on writing fair contracts.