Thanks to Covid 19 / Coronavirus, we’re all having to adjust to this sudden new world of social distancing and self-isolation. I’ve already had many enquiries from people who want to quickly move their supply of services onto the Internet. Especially those offering training, therapy, coaching and other kinds of advice.
So what are the key legal things to think about if you’re switching online?
- You’ll need to update your services contract – whether this is in the form of “terms and conditions” or otherwise – so that it works with your new online business model. For example, the payment or cancellation arrangements may be different. The contract may also need to take account of potential interruptions to the Internet, say due to increased demand.
- If you don’t already use a contract, then maybe this a good opportunity to start! It needn’t take long to prepare.
- Because your contract will now be formed at a “distance”, you will now have to comply with some additional regulations. For example, you must tell your non-business clients about their right to a 14-day “cooling off” period. However, if you get the right consent beforehand, you can start your service in the 14-day period and also charge for work done if the consumer does cancel the contract.
- You must provide consumers certain other compulsory information about the contract, for example when it legally starts, how payments work, how the customer can end the contract etc. Some of this can be included in the contract itself. But other parts must be incorporated in the order / payment process – or afterwards in a confirmation email.
- If you don’t actually supply your service via a website / mobile app, then you may need a separate short set of website terms and conditions just covering use of your website, i.e. as distinct from your service itself.
- But just having an excellent set of legal documents isn’t enough! You will need some specific user “opt in” notices in order to make them work, potentially including:
- Consent to receiving marketing emails / newsletters.
- Consent to your use of “sensitive” personal information.
- Consents relating to cooling off.
- Consent to cookies.
Please give me a call if you’d like to chat about any of this.