Crab Insight
Vol 2 Issue 8
May 2015



 

In This Issue

Legal Update
What we are being asked about
Top Tip
Reputation Matters
Reputation Advocates
Reputation Academy
Forthcoming Events
In closing

Dates for your diary:

Special Event - How to Tender I (An Introduction)
18th June 2015
Hayling Island

Special Event - How to Tender II (Advanced)
3rd July 2015
Hayling Island

Special Event - E-commerce & On-line Sales
10th July 2015
Hayling Isand

 

Please join us on:

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A stylised laptop showing the concepts of design and content for a website.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hello and welcome to the May edition of Crab Insight

This month we are concentrating on websites as I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that there are legal bits and pieces that need to appear on all websites. There is more information in our top tip.

For the rest of May we are offering a quick website check for free. This is limited to 20 checks so please make sure you don't miss out. Send an email with the address of your website to enquiries@crimsoncrab.net mentioning Crab Insight Webcheck in the subject line.   

Also just a reminder that if you process personal information (which will be most businesses) you may need to register with the Information Commissioner's Office (OCI) under the Data Protection Act. One company has just found out the hard way and were fined £375 and ordered to pay costs of £774.20 for not doing so. Follow this link for the OCI's free self assessment.

If you are thinking of tendering for public sector contracts or you know someone that is planning to please take a look at our two workshops by following this link.

Finally a big welcome to our new Reputation Advocate Peter Clarke from PPG Proofreading
 

We do hope you enjoy this edition of Crab Insight.

Legal Update

Consumer Rights Act 2015

We have mentioned this major change in legislation before. From 1st October 2015 it will replace much of the existing UK law relating to consumer sales and unfair contract terms.

The major changes will cover:
  • what should happen when goods are faulty
  • unfair terms in a contract
  • what happens when a business is acting in a way which isn’t competitive
  • written notice for routine inspections to be given by public enforcers, such as Trading Standards
  • greater flexibility for public enforcers to respond to breaches of consumer law, such as seeking redress for consumers who have suffered harm

As well as these changes there are 2 new areas of law covering:

  • what should happen when digital content (eg online films, games, e-books) is faulty - the act now gives consumers a clear right to repair or replacement
  • how services should match up to what has been agreed, and what should happen when they do not or when they are not provided with reasonable care and skill (eg giving some money back if it is not practical to bring the service into line with what was agreed)

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 stands alongside the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (which amend the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008) to create a greatly simplified body of consumer law. Taken together, they set out the basic rules which govern how consumers buy and businesses sell to them in the UK.

If you have consumer customers you really need to be preparing for 1st October 2015. We are working towards being able to provide an online Consumer Rights Course hopefully by the end of this month.

If you want to register an interest please get in touch.

What we are being asked about

I bought something on Ebay and it is not suitable. I contacted the seller telling them that I wanted to cancel. The seller is now refusing to answer my emails. Do I have to return the item to get my money back?

The rules on cancellation apply to traders on Ebay just as they do to any other trader. When the transaction takes place then the purchaser should be told what will happen if they cancel and in these circumstances this will be particularly relevant to postage costs. If the seller has not told the purchaser that they will have to pay return postage in the event of cancellation then they won't have to. In addition the rules are that the buyer only has to tell the seller that they wish to cancel within the 14 days (and not return the product within the 14 days). So in these circumstances the seller should be informed within the 14 days that the buyer wishes to cancel. The seller will have to:
  • refund the cost of the item,
  • refund outbound postage at the lowest cost they make available (so if first class and second class were available but the buyer chose first class the seller only has to refund second class) and
  • pay for return postage.

My terms and conditions are six years old will they still protect my business?
Having a set of terms and conditions in place is always preferable to nothing, however as things are likely to change over six years we would recommend a review.

(If you would like your terms and conditions reviewed please get in touch for a no obligation quote.)
Do I really need terms and conditions for the use of my website?
They may not be required by law, but it’s still a smart thing to include. 

(If you would like a set of terms and conditions for your website do get in touch.) 

Top Tip

What can go wrong with a website!

The internet is the new high street and your website, the shop window into which the whole world can peer.

This is a fantastic opportunity but there are some pitfalls. Getting it wrong can damage your business reputation and regulators such as the Information Commissioner can see if the rules are being followed. Here are some fairly common things that we have come across:

  • Not disclosing full ownership details. This is one of the easiest things for regulator's to pick up on. At the very least it is an indicator of negligence or a 'devil may care' attitude towards trading. In the worst case scenario it could be seen as an indicator of more serious criminal intent which merits concealment. Most websites will require this disclosure and it definitely should be present where the website is used for e-commerce.
  • When operating an E-commerce website that is aimed at consumers there are some special rules. The main one that causes problems is the right of cancellation. Most purchasers have up to 14 days to change their minds and cancel any agreement. If you don't tell them about their cancellation rights this can go up to as much as one year. (That's right, one year, not a typo!!) Again there are some very specific information requirements that need to be covered off to avoid problems.
  • Most service businesses (operating either on or off-line) should give specific information to clients before doing business with them. The idea is to let the client know who they are dealing with and give some other useful information which helps customer confidence and provides consumer protection. For off-line businesses with a website one way of complying is to use a web page for the information and provide prospective customers with a link.
  • Although, not a legal requirement, most websites have some form of copyright notice. The main issue here concerns the date. If the website only shows a past date just how fresh is the content? Ideally the date should be the first year that content was put on the site together with the date the latest content was added e.g. © Copyright Crimson Crab Ltd 2011-2015 all rights reserved.
  • Another complex area is privacy. Its really all about being clear about the collection of personal data and what it is going to be used for. The consequences of getting things wrong can be fairly substantial with maximum penalties of half a million pounds and size being no excuse for not knowing the rules. But by far the biggest impact will be reputational damage, with customers voting with their feet if you can't maintain their privacy. This is linked to the use of cookies, which again has to be transparent and would you believe, another minefield, as many businesses simply do not understand what the law requires.
  • Although often seen as a legal nicety that no one will ever read it really is worth having robust set of terms and conditions for use of your website. They can limit your liability if you are taken to court, as well as protect your rights to your content. A Court will look at your website terms so, you'll need to take them seriously enough for them to stand up in court.
  • The Disability Discrimination Act should aim to meet Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. It is good practice to comply and opens up access to a large group of potential customers. 
  • Finally a word about testimonials. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is looking at the way businesses use online reviews and endorsements after concerns were raised about their “trustworthiness” and “impartiality”. This will include those on web blogs, video blogs, social media, specialist review sites, trusted trader sites, retail platforms, and retailers’ own websites. Something to be aware of....
If you want to take advantage of our free quick website check mentioned in the introduction please send an email with the address of your website to enquiries@crimsoncrab.net mentioning 'Crab Insight Webcheck' in the subject line.   

If you need any help remember All you Have To Do Is Ask

Reputation Matters

Reputation Advocate Clive Loseby, Access By Design explains the importance of website accessibility.
 
When you hear the word Accessibility, what comes to your mind? Disabled toilets, ramps into buildings, lifts instead of staircases? Loop systems for the Deaf? Guide dogs, Blue Badges,walking frames, all sorts of different images may come to your mind. You will probably have heard of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), as it has been around for nearly 20 years and, if you are a business owner, you may well have had to make some changes to your place of work to take account of it. In any case, I think it is fair to say the most people reading this article would understand the concept.
 
However, when it comes to the phrase "website accessibility", what images come into your mind then? The Internet has opened up some many new channels of access to everyone, regardless of ability or otherwise, so perhaps it is harder to imagine what issues there might be.
 
I'd like you to try an experiment.Go to your website and then turn your monitor off. How would you navigate around it? Turn your monitor back on and then unplug your mouse. How would you navigate through it?
 
This is what life is like for millions of people in the UK. These people have got money to spend on goods and services just like anyone else, if they can't easily find out what you offer and how to get hold of you, they will very quickly go elsewhere and you will lose their business.
 
The DDA has applied to websites since 1999, which comes as a complete surprise to many people. Although there have been a very low number of prosecutions to date, having an accessible website is still a legal requirement and the number of prosecutions is only going to increase. 
 
However, that is only the beginning. Having an accessible website opens doors to many other visitors. For example, blind people use screen readers which use computer generated speech to "read" the website to them.  This is the same technology that is used by an increasing number of cars which have voice-activated internet browsing on board. If, for example, your website offers large print version or a dyslexia-friendly version, you are giving options to many millions of people which will make them feel comfortable and welcome. Everything you do to make life easier for visitors to your website will reward you many times over as people like to stay with what makes them feel comfortable. 
 
Making your website accessible is often not as difficult as you may think. Here are two tips to get you started:
 
Make sure that all of the images on your website have Alt tags. This Is what will be picked up by a screen reader and will be picked up by a Google images as well.Never use the phrase "click here" for hyperlinks. If you are blind, "click here" is meaningless as you cannot see where "here" is. Always use the phrase "Follow this link" instead. It is courteous and inclusive. 
Implementing the above will not take too much time and you will be amazed at the difference it will make! Website accessibility is something that every business needs to think about, more visitors to your website means more business your you!
 
If you would like to find out more about how we could help you in this area, please call us on 01243 776399 or email us: info@access-bydesign.com

Reputation Advocates


We are delighted to introduce our Reputation Advocates if you need expert help for your business.

Reputation Advocates, have been audited by Crimson Crab. They have also signed a contractual undertaking to comply with our Code of Conduct and meet the standards in our Ethical Trading Policy. This means that we know they have a great approach to business which reflects the core principles that Crimson Crab stands for. In addition we are confident that they put their clients at the heart of everything they do to provide the best possible service, and will rectify things quickly if they do go wrong. 

If you think that your business would benefit from becoming a Reputation Advocate please get in touch.

Reputation Academy

Crimson Crab's mission is to provide friendly and confidential support to businesses and help develop sensible strategies, tactics and processes to minimise and manage the risks to reputation, time and profitability from trading law.

To find out more please follow this link.

Forthcoming Events


Special Event - How to Tender I (An Introduction) 
Are you wondering if tendering is an option for your business but are unsure about what is involved. Find out more more about the event by following this link

Special Event - How to Tender II (Advanced)
This workshop is amied at businesses that already have some experience of tendering and have completed our 'How to Tender - An Introduction'. Find out more about the event by following this link

Special Event - E-commerce and On-Line Sales
E-Commerce is a great way of getting products and services to market. However the key to doing this successfully is to make sure you know the rules so making sure you don't fall into the legal pitfalls and avoid customer issues. Find out more about the event by following this link

To book a place on the above events please follow this link or call Wendy on 02392 637190.

To be kept up to date with our forthcoming events please join our events list by following this link

In closing

If there are any issues raised in this issue that you would like to talk to us about in more detail, please don't hesitate to get in touch by following this link. 

As always we would love to receive your feedback:
  • What would you like to see more of or less of?
  • Are there any reputational risks that you would like to see covered? 
  • Would you like a Special Event on any particular issue?
You can complete an on-line form, drop us an email or give us a call directly on 023 9263 7190
 
Please could we ask you to forward this Crab Insight on to anyone you think would benefit from the information. 

If you have been forwarded this email by a colleague, you can subscribe to our VIP list and receive it every month for free.

Lastly, it would really help if you could take a moment to update your preferences so that we can tailor our Crab Alerts to areas you are interested in.

Until next month
 

Don't worry, be Crabby savvy!!
 

and take care of your reputation.
 

Wendy and Rob

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