Why are Terms and Conditions important for my business?

Terms and conditions (T&Cs) – the small print – is understandably not the most exciting of issues for you to focus on, but they are crucial to safeguard your company and its clients.

Trusting peoples word is good, but it’s not enough if things go wrong.

What is the point in having Terms & Conditions for my business? Are they required by law? When did I last read the small print before signing on the dotted line?

Questions like these may be floating around in your head – so let’s clear up some of the negative connotations you may have when it comes to terms & conditions, and work towards building your understanding of their value.

Protect yourself

Even when your terms are written and signed, it doesn’t necessarily make them legally secure. When you are dealing with a non-business customer, according to the Gov.UK website: “A contract term and notice has to be fair to be legally binding on your customer. If it isn’t, they can challenge it – including in court if necessary.” There is also legislation which limits the extent to which one party can avoid liability through the use of exclusion clauses such as disclaimers in any contract.

Terms & conditions which are fair to your client have the power to protect your business if or when someone that has agreed to purchase your services doesn’t stick to what was originally agreed. It would be unwise to provide a service without terms & conditions with thorough but fair terms you will have more of a leg to stand on to protect yourself.

For example, if you sell something online a non-business customer gets a right to cancel the purchase for any reason within fourteen days of delivery. If you don’t tell them about that right they can have a year to cancel. You have to give a full refund including all postage charges.

Protect your clients

Whether you are operating as a B2B or B2C enterprise, nothing you achieve now would be possible without your customers. Every business needs the money to prosper – it’s economics – so why would you not want to protect your clients and reassure them in the process?

When you invest time to write your terms, place yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself about how they may read and access them.

Review your Terms & Conditions

It’s best practice to review terms on a regular basis – perhaps once a year or every time you change an element of your service – make it a part of your annual plan, to ensure they continue to be robust for your business, they are fit for purpose and continue to reassure clients who purchase your product or service.

It’s also worth noting and understanding what ‘force majeure’ means. It’s written into contracts to cover situations where unforeseeable circumstances prevent a person from fulfilling a contract. So – in a nutshell – when something goes pear-shaped your business and clients remain protected.

For more information or to discuss this topic further, get in touch with our team.

Remain resilient during the COVID-19 outbreak, yes, but keep compliant too

It will be some time before life returns to “normal” in the UK and even then, things will no doubt be different.

Teams up and down the county have responded to what’s happening and stayed resilient by working from home.

But, how is remote working supporting many companies in their attempt to be resilient through these strange economic times? And, how are they remaining compliant every step of the way?

Working from Home

Thousands, if not millions, of employees, are working from home as a result of this pandemic.

From Microsoft Teams calls to Zoom, progress in using technology has proven to be an excellent benefit for businesses across the country.

Technology (and a reliable Internet line) hasn’t been relied on as much as it has in these unprecedented times.

While working away from the office is allowing businesses to continue efficiently, it does come with risk:

Data Protection

With an increase in the number of employees working from home, your people must understand the importance of protecting personal data on the IT they are using.

It’s all well and good if your company is following Data Protection legislation within an office environment, you must still ensure this doesn’t get thrown out the window with your remote workers. Especially if they are new to working at home or remotely.

If you need any help check out our Data Protection Solutions here: https://www.crimsoncrab.co.uk/our-solutions/data-protection-information-risks

Cyber Security

Producing an effective Cyber Security Policy comes with an understanding of where your own security is currently at.

If your business is susceptible to a cyber-attack then you must be ready to deal with this unfortunate risk… both for those working in an office and from their own home. Any system is only as good as the weakest link and regrettably, this is most likely to be an individual away from the discipline of the office environment.

Similar to protecting data, think about how you can remain compliant while keeping resilient throughout the lockdown.

Understand more about Cyber Security at the NCSC website here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/about-ncsc/what-is-cyber-security

Scams

Stay safe from online scams by taking simple steps while working from home.

Check your privacy settings, be aware of unsolicited emails, always use unique, strong passwords (use a trusted password manager – not the browser), update your software regularly, make sure your network is set up correctly, change all the default passwords on devices to a secure one and avoid using public Wi-Fi connections.

There is more information about Fraud and Cyber Crime on the Action Fraud website here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk

Remember – your business must trade legally and it is your responsibility to do so ethically – no matter where your staff are based. Take full responsibility and get in touch with us on how you can remain compliant while focused on being resilient.

Remain resilient during the Corvid-19 outbreak, yes, but keep compliant too

It will be some time before life returns to “normal” in the UK and even then, things will no doubt be different.

Teams up and down the county have responded to what’s happening and stayed resilient by working from home.

But, how is remote working supporting many companies in their attempt to be resilient through these strange economic times? And, how are they remaining compliant every step of the way?

Working from Home

Thousands, if not millions, of employees, are working from home as a result of this pandemic.

From Microsoft Teams calls to Zoom, progress in using technology has proven to be an excellent benefit for businesses across the country.

Technology (and a reliable Internet line) hasn’t been relied on as much as it has in these unprecedented times.

While working away from the office is allowing businesses to continue efficiently, it does come with risk:

  • Data Protection

With an increase in the number of employees working from home, your people must understand the importance of protecting personal data on the IT they are using.

It’s all well and good if your company is following Data Protection legislation within an office environment, you must still ensure this doesn’t get thrown out the window with your remote workers. Especially if they are new to working at home or remotely.

  • Cyber Security

Producing an effective Cyber Security Policy comes with an understanding of where your own security is currently at.

If your business is susceptible to a cyber-attack then you must be ready to deal with this unfortunate risk… both for those working in an office and from their own home. Any system is only as good as the weakest link and regrettably, this is most likely to be an individual away from the discipline of the office environment.

Similar to protecting data, think about how you can remain compliant while keeping resilient throughout the lockdown.

Understand more about Cyber Security at the NCSC website here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/about-ncsc/what-is-cyber-security

  • Scams

Stay safe from online scams by taking simple steps while working from home.

Check your privacy settings, be aware of unsolicited emails, always use unique, strong passwords (use a trusted password manager – not the browser), update your software regularly, make sure your network is set up correctly, change all the default passwords on devices to a secure one and avoid using public Wi-Fi connections.

There is more information about Fraud and Cyber Crime on the Action Fraud website here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Remember – your business must trade legally and it is your responsibility to do so ethically – no matter where your staff are based. Take full responsibility and get in touch with us on how you can remain compliant while focused on being resilient.

Trading Disclosure and Business Names

Your clients have a legal right to know who they are dealing with (i.e the legal entity that they are trading with).

If you use a name to trade under other than that of the legal entity, then you need to disclose the full details of the legal entity including an address where you will accept service of documents.

For corporate bodies, there are specific disclosure requirements.

All of this needs to go on business documents including letters and emails and websites amongst other things.

Legal Entity

An association, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, trust, or individual that has legal standing in the eyes of law. A legal entity has the legal capacity to enter into agreements or contracts, assume obligations, incur and pay debts, sue and be sued in its own right, and to be held responsible for its actions.

Business Names

There are specific requirements relating to the name a business wishes to trade under and rules to prevent the use of misleading names. Business names must not:

  • be the same as an existing trademark
  • include ‘limited’, ‘Ltd’, ‘limited liability partnership, ‘LLP’, ‘public limited company’ or ‘plc’
  • contain a ‘sensitive’ word or expression unless you get permission

There are requirements about the details business have to disclose to their customers:

  • An individual trading under a name which is not their surname, with or without initials, has to give their name and an address at which the service of documents will be accepted;
  • Partnerships that use a name other than the surnames, with or without initials, of the individual partners, have to give the names of all the partners and an address at which the service of documents will be accepted; and
  • Incorporated bodies such as limited liability companies or partnerships (Ltd and LLP) have to make Trading Disclosures.

What are Trading Disclosures?

This is the term used in the Companies Act 2006 to cover the rules about the information companies must provide.

The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008

These Regulations deal with trading disclosures to be made by companies registered in any part of the United Kingdom.

The disclosures have to be made at certain locations (the registered office and other places of business), in company documentation e.g. letters (including electronic equivalents e.g. emails) and on company websites.

The Regulations also require companies to respond to enquiries about where their company records are kept available for inspection.

Unsolicited Marketing Emails

Recently we seem to have had a spate of marketing emails from people without any regard for the rules on privacy!

We all make mistakes but a lack of knowledge of the rules puts their business reputation at risk and exposes them to a substantial fine.

If you provide unsolicited marketing material, the Information Commissioner’s Office produces a handy Direct Marketing Checklist which includes a guide to the marketing rules. You can download it here.

Cookie banner frustration

The European Commission has proposed new regulations that would limit the way companies track users on the internet.

Part of that plan would see the removal of website banners that provide disclaimers on cookie policies and instead have the user’s browser preferences automatically apply to each site they visit. In addition companies will need to get explicit consent from a user before being allowed to track their online activities.

If passed, the new rules will come into effect by May 2018.

Read more… (opens in a new tab)