So if my facebook feed is anything to go by, there seems to be a bit of a frenzy about these new selling regulations or the amendments to it that come in to effect on Friday 13th June.  So today, I've been sat reading through what feels like lots of law jargon to work out how these rules affect me as an online retailer.

If you're a Designer Maker who needs updated Terms and Conditions for online selling, feel free to have a look at mine, as I've updated them in accordance with the website and Which?  I'm not a legal expert by any means but with a bit of common sense and plain language I've altered mine to fit with the new rules.

Here's a quick summary of what I've found:

- You're basically asked to make sure that your selling process is as transparent as you can possibly make it. So have all of your hidden costs, postage extras and card charges always on display, with a clear description of your products. You should also have a clear returns policy and state who pays for that, and whether you're willing to cover the whole cost of an enhanced postage service or the basics. You're only required to cover a basic postage refund but good customer service might mean you're happy to refund the whole cost.

- When a customer places an order they should always be able to remove it from their checkout without any issues.

- When they've ordered and wish to cancel, they have 14 days to cancel their order (even if it's been posted out!) but also a further 14 days to return it to you from the date they received the goods. However, many outlets have an extended returns policy. I don't feel that applies to what I produce, so for me, it's 14 days.

This has to be very clear and it would probably be a good idea to have a paragraph on your product descriptions in friendly language, that explains this.

- You need to give your customer a clear idea of when their goods will be dispatched, delivered and adhere to it. Keeping your customer informed is not just excellent customer service but required now, so even if it's just a confirmation, then an email to say it's being delivered, it's a good habit to get into and means you're not just a faceless website but a real person.

- You must include a paper copy of the key information of the transaction ,that includes a return address and clearly states how much your customer paid. If you email this to your customer instead, they need to be made aware that this is their invoice/delivery note. You already probably do this but it's just good to remind you if you don't.

- At the checkout, you need to make aware your terms and conditions for your customers to read, and they need to check the box to say they've read it. I encourage customers to print theirs and it says it in my T&Cs.

- Of course the exemptions to all of this are personalised goods and commissions. These are entirely different and you should have a different contract for commissions and a clause in your terms that explains about goods being personalised are not refundable unless damaged.

- WordPress has added a tick box into the checkout cart that lets you access the terms and conditions. This is pretty standard on most websites but just make sure your terms are clearly visible and easy to read.

- If you don't update your terms, your customer is allowed to return their items within up to a year, and request a full refund. So making sure everything is transparent is essential.

I haven't covered every aspect here, just those I felt were the most important but if you read through my terms you'll get an idea that the language can be plain and straight forward. Again, I don't claim to be an authority on this so if I've got it wrong then tell me.


edit: And another one to add (thanks Becky) That on your dispatch note/invoice. You need to have a clear refunds/returns paragraph that outlines who will pay the return postage (them but you refund it) and that they have 14 days from receiving their items to return it back to you in the original packaging, undamaged for a refund if they wish to cancel their order.






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