What Company Information Needs to be Included on its Website?
No business can go without a website, but there are some legal requirements you have to follow. Here is the company information you need on a website.
If you have a business currently or thinking of starting your own soon, you’ll need to have a legally correct and protected website. Besides the obvious information you’ll need to include, there are a few legal requirements to follow as well. We will walk you through what company information needs to be on your website before you register for one.
If you post about advice or information of any type, you will need a website disclaimer. This will help protect you in the event that someone has relied wholeheartedly on your article and made a bad decision. Without a disclaimer, they could be legally able to sue you. This is especially true of opinion pieces, and products that claim to perform to a certain level.
Most people would understand that this is a given, but you need to cover yourself just in case. It’s far better to spend a little bit of money to organise this instead of running the risk of outlaying thousands later.
ABN and ACN
In Australia it’s not legally necessary, however including your ABN is good business practice. The ABN must be included in your terms and conditions, but you could also easily display it on the website somewhere as well. Probably in the footer and somewhere discreet, it doesn’t need a large space at all.
Displayed your ABN and ACN will just help users see that you are legitimate, and enable a better rapport from the get go. By being transparent and offering all your information it shows users that you have nothing to hide.
False and misleading information
It should go without saying that the company information on your website should be accurate. However, we will explain just how important that is and the consequences for false information.
False or misleading information is prohibited by law in regards to advertising, packaging and any businesses online. It doesn’t matter if you have the specific intention to mislead. If overall it is likely to mislead this can be enough to breach this law. The only time this is actually allowed is when the wording is so exaggerated that nobody can take it seriously. For example, if a cafe claims they have the best coffee on earth. This is treated as puffery and is not prohibited.
A big area of false information is businesses claiming to be environmentally friendly. If you promote recycled materials or an environmentally friendly production line, you must be able to prove it. This is always a good thing. There is more and more focus on caring for the environment more than ever, so being able to prove this can really put you ahead of competitors.
If your website contains false and misleading information you can’t be protected by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Users who feel they have been mislead can file a complaint easily online. Save yourself the trouble and make sure everything on your website is accurate.
What about product reviews?
Through your website, you should be able to screen comments and reviews before they get published. Be weary of deleting bad reviews and only posting positive ones though. When reviews are overwhelmingly positive, it can lead users to distrust your product because it seems too good to be true.
If they purchase your product and aren’t happy with it, they may also be able to claim that you had false and misleading information they relied on to purchase. You are better off allowing the reviews to be posted organically and for people to write their honest opinions.
Refrain from posting fake reviews as well. Sometimes it can be quite obvious when a person who have a personal stake in the business posts a bias review. This can lead to being false and misleading information as mentioned above.
If you do have negative reviews, the best practice is to reply with a clear contingency plan. Usually businesses apologise and offer a discount for their next purchase, a partial refund, or even replacing the product entirely at no extra cost.
Trying to stay on the right side of the law can be a daunting and stressful experience. When it comes to the company information displayed on your website, this is even more so crucial as anyone in the world can view it. You could hire a business lawyer to review everything and make sure you also proof read all content. In the long run, it’s a worthwhile exercise to ensure your legal and intellectual property protection.
Taeisha is a Legal intern at Lawpath. She is a Law student at Macquarie University, previously completing her Commerce degree. She has an interest in Commercial Law.