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E-Commerce

E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry particularly with pushes by younger generations to move more services online. It’s also not uncommon for people to purchase items online, and enjoy the benefits of shopping at home and getting items delivered to your door.

Conducting business through the Internet provides many benefits. In fact, customers are increasingly moving their spending to online shopping. Customers are particularly attracted to the convenience of online stores and the competitive prices they can offer due to reduced running costs. Other benefits of e-commerce include:

  • The ability to run a business with a small team
  • Reduced costs for running a business (e.g. you don’t need a retail space)
  • Selling products internationally
  • Being able to scale up with relative ease

Despite transactions occurring entirely online, consumer law and business regulations still apply. There are also new laws being introduced to online businesses particularly around the issue of privacy. Therefore, e-commerce businesses will have to be careful with the security and reliability of their online platforms.

Legislation

E-commerce covers a broad spectrum of laws related to technology and business. The most important of them being Australian Consumer Law (ACL). These laws are found in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). ACL provides guarantees for consumers when purchasing goods or services. In particular, online businesses will need to know the appropriate remedies when a product or service is defective. Most commonly, this is found in the form of repairs, refunds, and replacements.

Another important area of e-commerce law is in the area of privacy and technology law. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) is the main legislation applying to privacy practices in Australia. Some of the more important issues under privacy law is the use of website cookies and privacy policies or notices. More recently, introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws in the EU have introduced new requirements for online businesses selling to EU customers.

What is an E-Commerce Lawyer?

An E-Commerce Lawyer is a specialist lawyer in the area of e-commerce law. Due to the nature of e-commerce law being very broad, E-Commerce Lawyers have an extensive knowledge in areas of Consumer Law, Technology Law and Privacy Law. They can help advise businesses on the legal matters and issues when conducting business online. Their work is often around reducing liability of online businesses. This includes working on terms and conditions on a website and privacy policies.

Why do I need an E-Commerce Lawyer?

It is often difficult for business owners starting out to know the ins and outs of conducting business online. Additionally, e-commerce law is always changing with new laws and regulations. These requirements can be strict and at times complex. Therefore, hiring an E-Commerce Lawyer is an effective method of securing your online business. In addition, customers will also have peace of mind when conducting business online if the appropriate privacy policy and regulation are provided.

What will an E-Commerce Lawyer provide?

E-Commerce Lawyers will provide expert knowledge on conducting business online. This includes providing effective advice on the pros and cons of e-commerce. They are also mainly involved in creating terms and conditions for websites as well as any privacy policies where needed. E-Commerce Lawyers can also assist in customer disputes as they also have expert knowledge in Consumer Law.

How much will an E-Commerce Lawyer charge?

Generally, E-Commerce Lawyers will have similar costs to a regular business lawyer. Their work is mostly around creating and reviewing terms and conditions of sale. They can also advise on requirements for privacy law such as online privacy policies and notices. Costs will ultimately vary according to the depth and detail of the terms and conditions required. E-Commerce Lawyers will have insider knowledge on the different online marketplace and can customise terms and conditions for the type of marketplace.

When you submit a quote through LawPath, we’ll source you quotes from a range of expert E-Commerce Lawyers. All of our lawyers work on a fixed-priced basis, meaning you always know how much the process will cost.

Hourly rates and Court fees

The cost of an E-Commerce Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go to the relevant Court or Tribunal, there may be additional fees involved, particularly as this work takes time. These types of matters may also involve obtaining documents and negotiating with the other party.

What can an E-Commerce Lawyer legally charge?

Legal costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis with a time period within which you are required to make payment. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014. Lawyers who do not comply with these rules can face disciplinary action from the law society of their State.

Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.

What if I don’t agree with the costs?

You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.

Further information

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