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Steps to set up an online store, part III: Legal aspects

09/20/2016 - Jordi Ordoñez

This is the third part of the series of posts we started two weeks ago with the first part being how to define your online business.  Today, we’ll discuss one of the few topics that can be pretty scary and it’s also one that’s not too much fun: legal aspects.  

The legal aspects of our online store can usually be captured in 4 documents:

  • Privacy policy
  • Cookies policy
  • Terms of use
  • Contract conditions

 

The first two aspects pertain to the world of personal information and what to do with it, while the other two focus more on how the customer uses our online store and the contract that is established between the two parties (customer and company) when he places an order.

Privacy policy and cookies

 

Really, the first two aspects don’t give us much information.  Here we need to talk about things like:

  • What we’re going to do with user information
  • Reiterate that we won’t send their information to a third party
  • Define where the data will be kept
  • Specify if the information is documented
  • Mention who is in charge of the aforementioned information (either an individual or a company)
  • Detail what we will use this data for: browsing, registry, managing the content of the ads we show, e-commerce activities, sending newsletters, responding to questions or complaints, etc.
  • What cookies we use (first and last names: Analytics, Comscore, etc)
  • What we are using them for
  • How they can deactivate cookies
  • How they can get rid of cookies

 

ley

 

As you can see, there is a litany of legal issues that no one ever reads about but that are vital to pay attention to when publishing a web project or creating an online store.  The fines imposed for not following the Organic Law of Data Protection are a pretty penny.  Anywhere from 600 to 100,000 euros.  But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the entity imposing these sanctions is self-financed. And how do they finance themselves?  With those fines, my friends.

Legally, you should have to accept the privacy policy each time you send information to our online store (with a checkbox).  This means putting it in the registry, at checkout, on the contact form, and when someone signs up for the newsletter.

Terms of use and contract conditions

 

We’ve arrived at an interesting point, the terms of use and contract conditions.  Terms of use refers to the relationship that the user establishes with the page, in terms of searching.  First, we define who we are: my company is called this and you can find us here.  From that point, we went more in depth to indicating the policy for (external) links, intellectual property, and legal actions that may result from misuse like slipping us a virus or using our site to send spam.

And now we’ve come to the real crux, the contract conditions; the contract that is ironclad between the user and online store when it’s time to purchase.  Here we should specify how the sale works and going into detail using legal information like:   

  • Deals on products from our catalogue
  • Price indication
  • Shipping and return costs
  • Shipping costs according to location: local, provincial, national, to the islands, abroad, within the European Commission, outside the European Commision, etc.
  • Return policy (not sending back broken products, for example)
  • Availability of stock products
  • How orders are delivered (delivery locations, transportation, and how to locate orders)
  • Payment options and secure forms of payment

 

How do you feel?  It’s not paltry (I love that word), right?  Instead of copying and pasting a lot of legal jargon from other websites, why not just leave it up to a good lawyer 😉

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