FIVE LEGAL MUST HAVES FOR YOUR BUSINESS WEBSITE

If you run a business, you’ll agree with me that location is key to getting customers to do business with you. Whether you opt for a brick and mortar business or an online store, there are legal factors every business owner must take into consideration when doing business on either platform. However, for today’s post, i’ll beam my “guide light” on online businesses who trade through a website.

In no particular order, below are what i call “must haves” for business owners with websites;

  1. A REGISTERED BUSINESS AND DOMAIN NAME.

Like every business, you need a name with which your clients can identify with your business products or services. Your domain name (for your website) and your business name must be unique to you alone, and cannot be similar with that of an existing online business with a website, as this may pose a great risk for your business.

If you conduct your online business in Nigeria, ensure your business is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. By doing this, your business stands a great chance of gaining confidence among your customers as well as other business organizations who may consider doing business with you.

For those of you who intend owning a business website in the future, i strongly recommend that you take adequate steps in having your domain name secured immediately after business registration, especially if you intend using your registered business name as your domain name.

 

  1. A UNIQUELY DRAFTED PRIVACY POLICY.

A privacy policy simply assures, users of your website that all personal information (such as; visitors names and emails, payment card information, e.t.c ) provided by them in the course of using your website are protected and will not be disclosed to third parties. The law mandates website owners to protect personal information of their consumers. To this end, having a privacy policy on your website, creates a sense of security for users who have no personal knowledge of you or your business and may have reservations about doing business with you.

By the way, are you aware that to enable your website to make use of important online marketing tools from software companies such as Facebook, Google you need a privacy policy?

Please bear in mind that a privacy policy contains information such as how you use visitor’s information, etc. To provide your customers with the ultimate experience, you must ensure that all clauses contained in your privacy policy are consistent with what is obtainable in your business. Lifting contents of privacy policy from other websites is risky as you may end up making false statements about your own practices which amounts to a crime. In addition, laws governing the geographical location from which a website is created and operates varies from one country to another. Seek professional help from experienced start up lawyers who are up to date with latest changing laws to enable you come up with a solid privacy policy.

Finally, ensure your policies are up to date as they may change from time to time.

 

  1. TERMS OF USE AGREEMENT.

This is different from a privacy policy. It’s simply a legal agreement between a website owner and its user or visitor. Generally speaking, a term of use isn’t mandatory especially where your website is simply an informative website. By “informative website” I mean; a website that contains only information about your business such as name, address, contact information, pictures of what you do, etc. However, If your business website is actively involved in complex activities such as; selling products or services using such website, direct communication with website visitors, or is engaged in any activity that could result in a third party liability on your website, you need a well drafted terms and conditions policy on your website.

The idea is to ensure that your users agree to the available terms before having access to your products or services online.

 

  1. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION.

The higher the level of online visibility, the more likely your website stands the risk of intellectual property theft. The last thing you need as an online business is your competition replicating your website contents online without your permission.

Your online contents could be protected through copyright registration. In addition, where you have a unique logo design or product name featured on your website as well as other visible materials, you may consider having it secured as a trademark to avoid the risk of such product name or logo design being stolen.

 

  1. CONSUMER PROTECTION COMPLIANCE.

The law protects the interests of consumers who purchase goods and services either online or offline. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018 provides guidelines as to how goods and services are displayed and sold and every business owner must bear this in mind while transacting online.

Some these provisions are as follows;

  1. Your goods or services as a business brand, must meet the standard promised. That way, clients get value for their money.
  2. A business brand or undertaking must adequately display such goods or services to the consumer. In addition, such business shall not compel a consumer to pay an amount higher than the amount displayed.
  • Sellers of goods or services must ensure the latter isn’t dangerous to the health of consumers. Hence you have a duty to test your products or services and include warning notices where necessary.
  1. Business brands are prohibited from providing misleading information through advertising, labeling and packaging.
  2. Where your goods are reconditioned or what we call “second hand” in nature, you must disclose such information to your customers prior to purchase.

Having a strong online presence enhances visibility for businesses, however you must ensure that your business website is legally protected and compliant to enable it thrive in the Nigerian market place. Do you have a business website, which of the lists above do you think your business website need?

 

Image Credit; udemy.com

 

 

Cynthia Tishion
Cynthia is a lawyer and currently serves as Head of Corporate / Commercial Services at LEX – PRAXIS. With her passion for business and entrepreneurship, she is actively engaged in creating awareness on the legal aspect of businesses through various platforms such as writing, public speaking engagements.

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