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This article was kindly provided by Graeme Crombie and Whitney Moore, from Lane Neave Lawyers.

When launching a website you are likely focused on development and design, or how best to generate leads and convert them. The legal jargon is hardly where you want to put your attention (or your money!), but if you’re doing business online, it’s worth talking to your lawyer to ensure you’ve got the following points covered. We’ve created an easy checklist of 5 legal must haves for your new website:

  1. TERMS AND CONDITIONS – If you provide goods or services, you need a clear set of Terms that define how you will trade with your customers. While your Terms will depend on whether you offer goods or services, they should include details on the payment process, flexibility in meeting your obligations, and governing law, among other things. In the case of services, the Terms need to include use rights for the service, a service description and service levels, and for goods they should address delivery, cancellation and return issues, to mention a few others. Your Terms will be the first place a customer looks if things go awry, and without them any disputes arising from purchases made through your Website may be messy and expensive.
  2. PRIVACY POLICY – Under the Privacy Act, if you are collecting personal information from your customers, then you must tell them what you are doing. The easiest way to do this is by including a Privacy Policy on your website clearly setting out how you collect, use and disclose personal information. Most websites use cookies, so if you do, include a cookies policy too.  If your website is targeting or tracking EU customers, you must also be aware of your obligations under the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).  Your Privacy Policy can also be used to cover other situations in which you collect personal information so that your customers can see the total privacy picture in one place.
  3. TRADE MARK PROTECTION – Unfortunately traders often think about trade mark protection too late, when a dispute arises and they want to prevent another trader from using their mark, but they realise they have not put the appropriate protections in place. Trade Mark registration provides an exclusive right to use a mark in respect of certain goods or services in New Zealand. A registered Trade Mark is also a valuable asset that will increase in value as your business grows. But registration sooner rather than later is crucial.
  4. WEBSITE TERMS OF USE – Unlike your Terms and Conditions which relate to your transactions, Website Terms provide basic rules on how your website may be used. Without Website Terms you risk being exposed to liability for your website’s content or for any fault that arises from its use. Website Terms also help to safeguard your intellectual property, including your Trade Marks and your website content.
  5. FAIR TRADING – In New Zealand we have fairy robust consumer protection legislation. When in trade you must ensure that you are not making any claims or representations that are false or misleading, and you must ensure you are not attempting to bind consumers using unfair terms. We recommend you review your website content to ensure its accuracy, and if you suspect any of your content might be going a step to far, it’s probably best to check with your lawyer. Your lawyer can also check you’re not making statements on your website that create additional risk for you.

 

The best time to turn your mind to these points is now. Even if you implemented each of the above on day dot, it’s important to review them once in a while to ensure your terms and policies are accurate, compliant and up to date. In particular we recommend you review the above if you enhance your service offering, update your website or when there is a legislative change.

If you would like to understand how to best comply with your legal obligations, and protect yourself when trading online, get in touch and we will help point you in the right direction.

Would you like to talk about converting your website to HubSpot? Or building a new HubSpot website? Contact us to have a chat.

 

This article was provided by Lane NeaveDownload their handy checklist on website legal compliance.

Contact details for the authors are:

Note: this information has been summarised and is general in nature. You should seek professional legal advice that takes into account your individual circumstances.

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