Why should I bother with Terms and Conditions for my business?

It’s fair to say that most consumers would be wrong to claim that they always read the Terms and Conditions before agreeing to use a product or service.

Millions of people across the UK are guilty of failing to read the Terms and Conditions, otherwise known as the boring bits or the small print, and that’s a pretty big deal. But why?

Terms and Conditions act as a legally binding contract between a company and its clients.

The agreement doesn’t only set out the rules and guidelines that must be followed, but it clearly sets out expectations from all sides of the party too.

There can be serious ramifications for companies who trade without Terms and Conditions. This can lead to unwelcomed headaches for customers too.

Within this blog, our spotlight is on some of the top issues Crimson Crab have encountered as a result of companies not having clear Terms and Conditions.

 

  1. Lack of ability to limit liability. As a business, if you don’t bother having Terms and Conditions, there are all sorts of liability that you may have to accept when you don’t need to.

 

  1. Difficulties if your client fails to make payment. Without Terms and Conditions, you may find yourself in a costly situation if court action needs to be made due to a client failing to make a payment on the work you have completed. By ensuring they agree to your payment terms within your Terms and Conditions, you’re protecting yourself from unwanted surprises and difficulties in Court.

 

  1. Unrealistic expectations. Without Terms and Conditions, clients may claim the work you are doing isn’t sufficient and fails to meet their expectations. By drawing up clear and easy-to-understand Terms and Conditions, you’re making it clear what work you will complete for the price agreed.

 

  1. Misunderstanding about compliance with legislation. Many businesses struggle to understand that Terms and Conditions play an important role in ensuring you are complying with the law including for example Trading Standards legislation. Having a set of Terms and Conditions allows companies to publish essential details, such as its name and address or consumer cancellation rights as required.

 

  1. Limited ability to protect intellectual property. This is all about protecting the creations of the mind, like inventions, literacy, and artistic work. Without highlighting in your Terms and Conditions the use to which your client may put your intellectual property, people may steal your ideas which could have otherwise been making you money. Setting out your stance on Intellectual Property will reduce the likelihood of this happening and will make it easier to deal with if it does.

 

There is so much to think about when you are trying to manage your own business, so it’s easy to prioritise another matter over Terms and Conditions.

But by having these you will establish an essential legal binding contract, on your terms as long as they are fair, which can protect you and your clients for years to come.

It’s good practice to regularly review your Terms and Conditions as circumstances can change as can the law, but also how your business operates may change over time.

Whether you are a start-up or an established business, Terms and Conditions are crucially important today more than ever.

At Crimson Crab, we can help with anything related to the Terms and Conditions belonging to your business. From reviewing to drafting your Terms and Conditions, a great starting point is our Business MOT get in touch to take it today.

Crab Insight May 2021

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 08, `Terms of Business’

 

Welcome to the May edition of Crab Insight

May is the bridge between Spring and Summer, a month of transition.  May 2021 will certainly be no exception.

As lockdown eases further step three of the lockdown roadmap in England will take place.  As long as it is safe, all of the most high-risk sectors will be allowed to reopen, with Covid-secure guidance in place. Outdoor gatherings for no more than 30 people and indoors for six people or no more than two households will be okay.

If you need assistance with Covid Secure Workplaces please take a look at:

Grounded Safety

As the economy opens up more, invariably our thoughts will turn to our customer relationships, maybe re-establishing them or with new ways of doing business such as e-commerce. Whatever the circumstances the interaction or business relationship between you and your customer for the supply of goods or services is subject to legal control.

Hence this month we are focusing on the way to regulate this transaction via Terms and Conditions (T&C’s).

If you need practical help with HR Management or Data Protection please do take a look at:

 
 

Claudia Crab’s May Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“Terms and Conditions”

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” ― Samuel Goldwyn, Hollywood film producer

Contracts are formed every day in business and they represent the legal basis on which you are willing to do business with your customers. Despite what Samuel Goldwyn said they are legally binding on both parties, whether in writing or not, the difficulty with a verbal agreement is that it is difficult to prove what was agreed too the satisfaction of a Judge.

When dealing with consumers (i.e. someone not acting for their business, trade, or profession) legislation gives statutory rights to the customer, obligations to the seller and controls the content. Certain consumer contracts can be canceled and having terms that try to take away a consumer’s statutory rights are illegal, for example, “no refunds”.

If it is written down the document could be known by many other names, from simply “business terms”, to “terms of sale” or “Terms and Conditions” or “T&C’s”. Whatever you call them in general terms, the meaning in any of these names is that you are offering your goods or services for sale with certain conditions in place. 

To many people “terms and conditions” represent incomprehensible legal jargon in an enormous document with small print or a small pop-up box where you have to scroll frantically to read more than a few words at a time. The problem is that these types of documents may be invalid in English Courts and can result in an investigation by Trading Standards.

When using terms and conditions always follow the Crimson Crabs strapline:

Ethical  |  legal  |  Responsible

The big question this month is:

Why should I bother with Terms and Conditions for my business? 

Look out for our social media posts and our blog later in the month as we will hopefully be able to flesh out your thinking.
 

Top tip – To create a great set of terms and conditions you need to understand some of the potential issues that your business faces when doing business with your clients or customers and our Business MOT can help with this


F2 Business Huddle Online

Friday 14 May 2021

12 noon to 2 pm

Get your ticket on Eventbrite


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Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.

Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2021 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Does your business strategy take account of business risks?

Having a clear and realistic long-term plan in any situation is important if you desire to achieve positive results.

Whether your strategy is focused on your business as a whole, or perhaps key elements of your company such as its sales, marketing, or staffing, strategies can pose risks to your business as they are encouraging change and should be thought about and reviewed regularly.

Failing to take account of business risks within your business strategy can have consequences for your business and those with an interest in its affairs.

That’s why we’ve compiled three answers to the potential response you may have to the title of this post, does your business strategy take account of business risks?

  • Absolutely! Yes, my business does take account of business risks.

It’s good practice to consider the risks associated with an action which you may label as essential to get you to where you wish for your organisation to be. Good job for thinking about business risks!

But remember to assess any risks associated with any strategy for your business on a regular basis – we’d recommend quarterly or annually – as risks do evolve.

  • I’m not too sure whether my business strategy takes account of business risks…

Ultimately, if you have a one-year, three-year, five-year, or maybe an even longer plan for your business without assessing the risks associated with it, you’re leaving yourself susceptible to obstacles.

But don’t worry because, you’ll be pleased to know, you can swiftly identify risks associated with a specific business objective by conducting a simple SWOT Analysis.

By identifying an objective that will help you towards achieving your long-term strategy, and listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats concerning this, you’re already compiling a list of the risks which may arise too.

This approach may help you with being proactive at mitigating risks from happening as you’ve identified the potential issues already.

We believe weaknesses and threats uncovered as a result of your SWOT Analysis can be turned into positive opportunities for your business. Speak to us if we can help you with this!

  • My business strategy doesn’t take account of business risks.

A strategy is typically split into several objectives, also known by many as key results.

All of the key results aligned with the strategy must be completed in able to achieve what you set out to gain.

Although every objective/key result does come with its risks. You should take account of business risks belonging to these various objectives to prevent any unwanted headaches down the line.

Speak to Crimson Crab for further information about how to take account of business risks with your strategy today.

Crab Insight April 2021

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 07, `Deal with risk’

 

Welcome to the April edition of Crab Insight

As lockdown eases we need to move forward with our businesses and identify opportunities for growth or at least to get back to where we were before lockdown.

Beware though every opportunity carries with it some degree of risk.

So, Claudia Crabs focus this month is dealing with risk. It’s important not to lose perspective, don’t sweat the small stuff and ignore the real show stoppers.

HR management,  health and safety management and data protection can all be problematical in their own ways. If you need some practical help please do take a look at some of our solutions:

 
 
 

Claudia Crab’s April Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“Deal with risk”

““Opportunities pass by frequently, but people don’t always see them. Taking risks grants you an invisible set of glasses that reveal the many opportunities which surround you.” ― Anas Hamshari, Businessma n With An Affliction

A good starting point is a SWAT. Strengths, weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats analysis In this way, both internal and external factors are identified, remember weaknesses are best thought of as areas for improvement. If you find your self struggling with external factors try using the acronym PESTEL.  This will help you think about the opportunities and threats likely to develop. PESTEL, polictical, economic, social, technological, environmental and legalThe use of a SWAT Matrix helps you identify where:

strengths play to opportunities or reduce threats

weaknesses hold you back or exacerbate threats

SWOT Matrix Once the major areas are identified you can carry out a risk assessment in a systematic way. risk assessment The key is to unpick how you can reduce the likelihood of a high-risk occurrence happening and, or reduce the damage done to the business if it does happen. That way you will be taking responsibility for your businesses strategy by proactively managing risks. You will also be in a better position to deal with issues that crop up as they should not come as a surprise.  This follows Crimson Crabs strapline:

Ethical  |  legal  |  Responsible

So this month we are asking the question:

Does your strategy take account of business risks? 

Look out for our social media posts and our blog later in the month as we will hopefully be able to flesh out your thinking.
Top tip – A great starting point is to understand some of the risks that your business faces and our Business MOT can help with this

F2 Business Huddle Online

Friday 14 May 2021

12 noon to 2 pm

WE ARE LIMITED TO 100 PLACES

TO AVOID DISSAPOINTMENT 

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Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.

Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2021 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Secure your cash flow: Disclose your legal trading entity

Your clients have the legal right to understand exactly who they are dealing with. If they don’t, you could find yourself with agreements being void and not getting paid for the work you do…

Imagine it – business is booming and you have just had one of the strongest quarters to date.

Then suddenly, your customers stop paying and you have no legal way to get your money as a result of not abiding by trading laws and disclosing your legal trading entity.

But what is the legal trading entity?

In a nutshell, it’s the name of the business used for tax purposes. It’s the ‘legal’ name of the person or entity that owns it.

If you’re a sole trader, a plasterer for example, then the legal trading entity of your business is your name with or without your initials or forenames.

So, if your name is Richard James Smith, the legal name for your business could be Richard James Smith, Richard J Smith, Richard Smith R. J. Smith, R Smith or simply Smith.

If you trade under a name which does not include your surname, for example, Phoenix Plastering Services you would have to give your surname to every current or potential client.

For example Smiths Phoenix Plastering Services or Richard Smith trading as Phoenix Plastering Services together with an address at which you can be contacted. In legal parlance an address at which you will accept the service of documents.

For unincorporated partnership in gets a little more complicated as the legal trading name is the last names (with or without initials or forenames) of all of the partners.

For limited liability companies, partnerships and corporations, the business’ legal name is the one that was registered with Companies House including Ltd, LLP, PLC etc. In addition, there are specific disclosure requirements for these types of business including full corporate name, registered office address, registered number and place of registration.

The trade or business name is the name a company uses for advertising and sales purposes. It’s imperative you understand that this is different from the legal trading names previously described.

It’s a legal requirement that your legal trading entity is included on all business documents and their electronic equivalents which include invoices, letters, emails and websites.

If you’re a business that may trade under a different name to your legal trading entity and may be unsure of the rules, get in touch with the Crimson Crab team today.

Know your customers cancellation rights – they’re a pretty big deal!

Failure to inform your retail customers of their rights to cancel the use of your product or service may have serious ramifications to your business.

Without clarity on cancellation rights, it can become more of a challenge to resolve any disputes which may arise, so it’s important for any business owner (and their team) to clearly set out their company’s approach to cancellations.

In this month’s blog, our focus is on two core areas regarding cancellation rights for consumers. Selling without face to face contact and selling away from your usual trade premises.

If you don’t understand what the law means to your business it may well jeopardise your reputation.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

Its name is quite a mouthful but it’s important for any business that deals with consumers to understand how the rules on cancellations work.

A consumer is someone who is buying something for their own use which, means that they are not buying it for their business, or profession.

The law states if a consumer goes to a shop to purchase goods or services, they have no right to cancel a purchase UNLESS they are given rights to do so by the sales contract or any agreement in place. This is often referred to as a Returns Policy. This does not apply where goods are faulty or misdescribed or a service is not provided to a reasonably competent standard.

Cancellation rights apply when a consumer buys something online or through a catalogue or away from the trader’s usual premises, so for example in their home or at a craft fair.

Whether you’re a tradesman providing a service, or an independent business selling telecoms contracts, it’s essential you inform your customers of their rights to cancel when they have one.

By doing this you are making it clear that they can cancel – within the set down 14-day time period – and move on to elsewhere, hassle-free.

It’s worth noting when someone buys something online (the purchaser) they get 14 days to cancel as long as you tell them about their cancellation rights.

If you as the trader fail to tell them and explain how they can be exercised, the purchaser has up to one year to cancel and you have to refund the purchase price, cost of delivery and pay for the return costs in full.

Cancellation must be distinguished from Termination of a contract. This has a very specific legal meaning.

Termination is where someone has breached the conditions of the agreed contract. It’s a get-out clause for either party who have failed to adhere to what was agreed.

It is a criminal offence not to tell a consumer they have cancellation rights if they are completing agreements off-trade premises.

Be sure to tell your clients about their cancellation rights – even more, so where failing to inform them could cost your company money!

To summarise, every business must understand the rights their customers have to cancel and should always clearly share these before any transaction takes place.

For further information about cancellation rights please get in touch.  

Three don’ts to protect your customer relationships

The relationships any organisation has with its customers is important if it is to succeed. Also, the retention of clients is a pretty big deal.  

But, at times, we understand our working lives can be testing and offering excellent customer service may be a challenge.

However, within any context, business owners and their teams must strive to deliver a strong service to its clients if it wishes to achieve a positive reputation… while protecting it too!

That’s why our top three don’ts are to support you with protecting the relationships you have with your customers.

  1. When things go wrong, don’t ignore them!

Most businesses treat their consumers well. How do we know this? Because, if they didn’t, there would be no business.

But what happens when things do go wrong? Firstly, it’s important you don’t bury your head in the sand if something, such as a complaint, takes place. Be prepared for any negative response from your clients; have a clear complaints process and be genuinely ready to help people when they’re not happy.

  1. Breathe! Don’t respond on the hoof…

Your focus must always be on protecting the relationships you have with your customers.

To have someone walk away after using your service or product with a negative opinion can be detrimental to how other people perceive your offering.

We’re only human, so it’s understandable if you’re upset as a result of some negative feedback.

Nonetheless, take a moment to consider how you are going to approach your response, as well as how what you say will have the ability to preserve an existing relationship.

  1. Understand the law behind consumer complaints, and don’t neglect it!

There is law around dispute resolution, complaints and mediation, so it’s important you understand what is appropriate/what isn’t if you’re to address the negative experience of a consumer correctly.

Let’s use a complaint from a customer as an example. Businesses have to comply with rules and regulations when dealing with an issue.

These rules don’t necessarily change from one industry to the next, but some sectors do offer an alternative dispute resolution.

Fancy some bedtime reading? The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is a good place to start.

The Act consolidates consumer protection law and legislation while also providing consumers with their rights and remedies, so it’s an essential read for any business that deals with consumers.

For further details on how to protect your consumer relationships, and the best tips on what to do if something does go wrong, get in touch with Crimson Crab today.

 

Crab Insight August 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 7, Issue 11, Protect

Welcome to the August edition of Crab Insight

The positive relationships any business has with its clients will help it thrive and survive – but there are things you must do to protect the bond between you and your customers… That’s why PROTECT is our word of the month! Don’t forget Crimson Crab is always on your side, ready to help you rise to the challenge. Stay safe.

Claudia Crab’s August Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“If you deal with consumers respect their rights and comply with the standards of trading.”

If you deal with retail sales and have consumers as your customer there are a plethora of rules and regulations that apply, including:

  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • The Consumer Protection from Unfair Commercial Practices Regulations 2008 – control unfair practices and create criminal offences for traders that breach the regulations.
  • The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
  • The Provision of Services Regulations 2009

The law covers:

What you sell:

  • Goods
  • Digital content
  • Services

Where you sell it:

  • On-premises sales
  • Off-premises sales
  • Sales made at a distance

How you sell it:

  • Consumer contracts
  • Good practice
  • Pricing and payment

Other key areas to consider:

  • Underage sales
  • Food & Drink
  • Product Safety
  • Animals & Agricultural Products
  • Weights & Measures

Whatever you do you need to respect consumers rights and comply with certain minimum standards of trading.

To fail to do this can lead to serious consequences including being prosecuted by a regulator such as Trading Standards or Environmental Health.

Top tip – A great starting point to find out where you are, is our Business MOT


F2 Business Huddle Online

The next FREE

F2 Business Huddle online

is on

Friday 14 August 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It’s going to be the biggest ever

F2 Business Huddle

– so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo
Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Is my company’s website legal?

Building a website is easy, right? With the click of a few buttons and some vibrant graphics, you’re ready to go. Yes, perhaps, but is it compliant?

Even though your website is your organisation’s shop window, it’s important for it to look good and entice your target audience, it’s also crucial for it to be legally compliant.

But – what does that mean and how can you ensure it is compliant? 

All websites must conform to the Data Protection Act (and GDPR Regulations).

“If a business can’t show that good data protection is a cornerstone of their practices, they’re leaving themselves open to a fine or other enforcement action that could damage bank balance or business reputation.”

“Three-quarters of us don’t trust businesses to do the right thing with our emails, phone numbers, preferences and bank details. I find that shocking.”

Elizabeth Denham UK Information Commissioner

Your website is a powerful tool to grow your business – but can also be detrimental to the business if it isn’t compliant.

That’s why our tips are some of the top things to consider when it comes to your company’s website.

Always have a valid reason: Personal information from individuals and organisations can be useful for many reasons – but do you have a valid reason to use it for your intentions? Be clear about WHY you’re collating peoples’ details – and what it’ll be used for. Always give them the opportunity to give you permission in the correct way if you need to.

Security is key: If your website isn’t secure, you’re leaving yourself and your visitors susceptible to hackers and cyber-attacks. Don’t be responsible for this!

Is your privacy information in check? One of the most important documents on your website – above any information about what you sell – should be your privacy notice. Many businesses use a privacy policy, whatever you call it, it must contain specific information about your use and processing of personal data and if it’s not there you are not covered. Feel free to get in touch for more details.

Crab Insight July 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 7, Issue 10, Profile

Welcome to the July edition of Crab Insight

What has been your biggest learning in recent weeks, and how will this change the way you present yourself to people?

Our word of the month for July is PROFILE, it’s all about how you will present yourself so as to stand out from the crowd in a digital-focused world?

Crimson Crab is on your side and ready to help you meet the challenges ahead.

Stay safe.

Claudia Crab’s July Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“A website is a shop window to the world – it is also a great way to showcase breaches of the law”

If you have a website you need to make sure that you comply with the law in the following areas:

Disclosure

You should identify yourself correctly and give an address at which you can be contacted, there are specific requirements for a registered business, (e.g. Ltd, PLC, LLP).

Copyright

It’s imperative that you protect your copyright effectively and make sure that you do not breach other peoples copyright. It makes sense to also have a document setting out the terms of use of the website.

Disability Discrimination

Businesses have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to help disabled individuals access their goods, facilities and services. The Equalities Act 2010 requires that websites are accessible to disabled people including Blind people. One way of meeting this responsibility is for website owners to comply with the WCAG 2.0 standard at Level AA the UK Governments recommended best practice for accessibility. 

Data Protection

You need to make sure that you comply with the Data Protection laws (including the GDPR) for all contact forms and any personal data collection. You also need to make sure that you have an appropriate Cookies policy detailing the cookies used and their purpose (and for example use a pop-up or other means to obtain ‘consent’).

Provision of Services

If you provide any services on or offline you have to make sure you comply with the Provision of Service Regulations. They require service providers to make available contact details where information requests and complaints can be sent, together with other specified information.  One way of complying is to include the required information on a web page and proactively provide the link to clients when discussing your services.

E-commerce

When using a website for e-commerce purposes then you still need to comply with the law that relates to a bricks and mortar outlet along with some special rules for an online business.

So there must be for example no unfair commercial practices and suitable control of sales of age-sensitive products (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, knives, solvents, videos & games). If any products are sold to which safety legislation applies, for example, toys, bicycles, electrical goods the rules have to be followed, as they do when food of any type is sold. 

The Consumer Contracts Regulations require that you provide certain information when selling online, and also require you to tell the customer about their right to cancel the purchase within 14 days (not 7 any more). Failure in this respect can mean that the customer can enjoy a much longer cancellation period (up to 12 months)!

You also have to be careful to comply with the requirements of Card Providers and you cannot make additional charges for using such payment methods.

There are also rules around the way that complaints are dealt with and the provision of access to Alternative Dispute Resolution and the European Commissions Online Dispute Resolution Platform.

Top tip – We can check out your website


F2 Business Huddle Online

The next online F2 Business Huddle is FREE

It’s on Friday 10 July 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It is going to be the biggest F2 Business Huddle ever – so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo

Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.