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Legal Matters: The Rules Of E-Commerce

The time of the retail reign in business is passing, and e-commerce is becoming a much easier way of doing business for many entrepreneurs.  The internet as a platform for sales is much different in nature than that of a brick and mortar establishment.

Many of the legal rules are the same, but the digital realm has its own set of rules and regulations for business operations.  It is important that you understand the laws of running a money-making business online before you dive in head first. Here is a quick summary of a few standout rules of e-commerce.  

Consumer laws and rights

If your business is selling something to a customer, then it is important that you are knowledgeable concerning consumer laws and rights.  Your consumers have a right to certain information.  

For instance, it is law that you have to provide customers with a full breakdown of charges and totals before their purchase is completed.  Also, a record of the transaction must immediately be sent to the consumer’s email inbox.

There is even a specification that you must present buyers with an acknowledgment of charges the first time they hit the “purchase” button, so customers have plenty of notification that their credit card is fixing to be charged.  

If your organization is not very particular about following the law when it comes to consumer laws and rights, you could end up in a whirlwind of troubles.  If someone is injured as a result of your product, and there was no forewarning about the possible danger, you could be at fault.  

Understand tax laws

Tax laws vary, depending on where you are based as a business.  The internet is an interesting medium when it comes to tax law, but the typical outcome depends on where the product originates.  

If you are selling clothing from New York, then you would add clothing tax on your prices.  New York taxes clothing. If you were selling food products from Florida, you wouldn’t charge any taxes.  Food in Florida is nontaxable.

Customer data protection guidelines

Running an e-commerce business requires that you have some sort of security in place to protect customer data.  You cannot simply gather up credit card numbers with no assurance that the information is protected from those who would use it for harm.  

Take your time to vet out a well-built e-commerce transaction platform.  Your organization’s reputation, and the quality of your customer service depends on the safety you provide your online consumers.  

Understand the difference between

It is important that you understand the difference between a copyright, a trademark, and a patent in any realm of business.  If you are creating something new, you’ll need to protect your investment. Learn how to put on paper that your business ideas are yours alone.  

Anna Johansson

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