Advances in technology have removed the entrance barriers for new online businesses in Australia. We can see this through website creation platforms that help you create a website in a couple of hours. There are also numerous plug ins and third party apps to improve your online business. However, before you think about starting an online business make sure you consider your legal requirements.

Privacy Policy

There isn’t a mandatory requirement for a privacy policy, as whether you need one depends upon what type of business you are and what sort of data you are collecting. However, you can voluntarily opt in and use a privacy policy. A privacy policy also creates trust and transparency for you and your customers. Likewise, it is better to be cautious and use a privacy policy. Your website might be collecting personal data without you even knowing by means like cookies.

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Terms and Conditions

Under consumer law if you are starting an online business and selling goods or services on your website then you must have a terms and conditions. This will set out the refunds, warranties and guarantees your customers have a right to. Furthermore, your terms and conditions should protect your intellectual property and limit your liability as well. It would also cover breakdowns in shipping and policies for disputes.

Shipping and e-commerce

When consumers go to use your website they are probably going to want the product shipped. This means you will need to set up a payment option and a shipping system. There are already numerous payment systems on the internet. As a result, using a third party system that is well respected will add to your credibility. This is in contrast to just a box for credit cards details directly. Furthermore, when it comes to shipping you may want terms from your T&C’s about shipping posted near the shipping section. Then the actual act of shipping, you could use a courier service or another company to reduce costs. If you are uncertain whether you missed something then you could check with a business lawyer.

Email Subscription and Marketing

When you are starting an online business you will normally make use of a email marketing scheme. Then you can send product links, business updates and more. However, if you are doing this, you must have an unsubscribe button so individuals can opt out. The next thing to consider is an email disclaimer. This will protect you from error and limit your liability. Hence, using a disclaimer will go a long way to protecting your business.

Conclusion

As an online business make sure you comply with Australian Consumer Law. This means taking the time to get a T&C at a bare minimum. It may seem attractive to copy and paste another company’s T&C but this can lead to intellectual property infringement. Furthermore, the actual terms may not be relevant to you, or even cover you adequately.

Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest Legal Marketplace.

Justin Pasqualino

Justin is a legal intern at LawPath as part of the content team. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics at UTS.