The busiest shopping days of the year are right around the corner! If your business is planning on offering online Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to your customers, it is important to be fully prepared not only business-wise, but legally as well.
Here are 4 legal issues to keep in mind should your business wish to offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday online deals.
Of course, this blog post constitutes legal information and not legal advice. If you have any additional questions regarding the online sale of products or services, or on how to operate an online business in general, do not hesitate to contact us!
The terms & conditions are essentially the contract between your website users and your business. It can serve to limit your liability in some instances and to outline the prohibited uses of your website which could lead to a user account being deleted.
Privacy policies are mandatory in Quebec for businesses who collect personal information on website users. The policy must disclose the nature of the personal information collected and the purpose for their collection. Personal information can include name, age, ethnicity, location, etc.
Make sure to implement reasonable safety measures to protect your users’ personal information (e.g. Secure Sockets Layer, etc.) and to obtain their consent before sharing it with third-parties. This is mandatory.
Lastly, it is also useful to know where your customers are located and to make sure you comply with the data privacy laws of the territory in which they are located.
You can find more information about terms & conditions and privacy policies in a previous blog post.
2) Sale & Delivery
If you sell products or services online, you will be subject to consumer protection laws regarding their sale and delivery.
You must provide the customer with a contract of sale containing your business and your customer’s contact information and name, the price, the object of the contract (e.g. sale of X product), information concerning additional costs (e.g. customs duties and shipping costs), the method of delivery, the name of the carrier, and the date of delivery. This information can be displayed in various manners: before the transaction or by sending the customer an email.
The customer will be able to cancel his purchase and will be entitled to a refund within 15 days after the cancellation:
- Anytime if the customer did not receive the product or service within 30 days after the stated delivery date;
- 7 days after receipt of the contract of sale if the required information is missing from the contract, or if you do not give the customer an opportunity to refuse or accept the purchase;
- 30 days after the purchase if your business does not send the customer a copy of the contract of sale within 15 days after the purchase.
To avoid unwanted purchase cancellations, make sure to deliver your products or services in a timely manner, and to provide your customers with a copy of the contract of sale containing the required information.
3) Return & Exchange Policy
Adopting a return & exchange policy is not mandatory, but if you do adopt one, you must make sure to bring it expressly to the consumer’s attention and to present the information in a prominent and comprehensive manner. The consumer must be able to easily retain it and print it.
If your business does not comply with this obligation, the customer will be able to cancel his purchase within7 days after the receipt of the product or service, and you will have to refund the customer within 15 days after the purchase cancellation.
These rules also apply to the contract of sale.
4) Fraud & Counterfeit Prevention
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are notorious for surges in fraudulent activity. To avoid competitors from copying your products, make sure to enforce your intellectual property rights (e.g. registering your trademark for your t-shirt logo).
It is also useful to have your employees sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) so that your marketing strategy and other commercial secrets (also called trade secrets) are not leaked.
If you have any additional questions regarding the online sale of products or services, or on how to operate an online business in general, do not hesitate to contact us!