Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A New EU Directive – a blow to retailers?

Since the 13th of June, a new EU directive has been enforced, heralding an increase in consumer rights regarding purchases made
online or away from a retailer’s premises. The government passed the Consumer Contracts Regulations, the UK implementation of the EU
directive on human rights. But is this bad news for retailers?

It certainly seems a victory for the consumer at least. The new directive aims to uphold the same consumer rights across all of
Europe, simultaneously providing more transparency for the consumer in regards to their rights.

What are the changes?

Under the current English Law, consumers are entitled to have seven working days to cancel an order if required, commonly known as
the ‘cooling off period’. This has been extended to fourteen calendar days, initiating from the point which the consumer receives
the goods, enabling consumers to return products regardless of their reason.

Furthermore, the period in which retailers can provide refunds has been cut from 30 days to 14 days. These refunds must cover the
cost of delivery and can be given at any time upon first receiving the goods. This slashes the time allocated for traders to check
returned stock, meaning retailers’ processes must be fast, increasing the burden on their shoulders.

The new directive further impacts the layout and interface of retailers’ websites. Buttons instructing customers to ‘buy or ‘confirm
purchase’ must be scrapped and in place of them, text of ‘order with obligation to pay’ must be inscribed. This was implemented to
prevent consumers from accidently committing themselves to an unwanted subscription or product. Moreover, automatically selected
boxes on websites designed to coerce the consumer into paying for extra deals or insurance must also be prohibited, another way of
protecting the customer.

What does this mean for retailers?

This spells difficulty and hassle for retailers, as it requires them to implement major changes to their systems; including re-
training staff, rewriting their terms and conditions and redesigning their websites, particularly the final payment screen.
Retailers must now review their entire business structure to ensure it complies with the new regulations. In an age where almost
everything relies on technology, this new directive encompasses all businesses across the nation, affecting the way in which
consumers and their rights are handled and regarded.

Where we come in

If you require any further information or assistance, whether it be reviewing the terms and conditions of your business or aiding
you in drafting new contracts, we are more than happy to help.

Contact us on 020 8805 5307 or for a no obligation chat.

Written by guest blogger, Yan Lai
16 July 2014

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Legal Compliance – The Breakdown

What is Legal Compliance?
Legal compliance refers to the requirement of businesses and organisations to obey the legal laws and regulations that are in place. A few examples could be:
·         Internal policies and procedures  - staff management (problems are addressed appropriately)
                                                  - contract obligations
                                                  - employee salary, safety and satisfaction

·         External policies and procedures - treatment of consumers
                                                  - management of the business (sales & services)
                                                  - advertising
Why is it so Important?
Legal compliance can ultimately make or break a business. Complying with the rules and regulations in place will ensure that your business operates legally with minimal risks. It would also help protect your business, staff and reputation and will prevent any damages that could occur.

The biggest and undeniably most important problem that you could face by not complying with the legal requirements is facing a criminal charge. A criminal offence would:
·         Ruin the reputation and image of your business
·         Affect the sales and services that you have to offer
·         Be very costly
...and many more. All of these would have a knock on effect which could potentially lead to the breakdown of the business that you worked so hard to make a success.

The Reality of Unaddressed Legal Compliance Issues
The Legal Services Board recently conducted a study of 10,000 SME’s and a staggering 46% claimed that unaddressed issues had detrimental effect on their business with the average cost per issue being £13,812.
The report also found that:
·         23% suffered a significant loss of income
·         12% reported an increased cost
·         9% suffered damage to their reputation
·         6% reported employee numbers had to be reduced or the business had to close down completely

How to Protect Yourself

Pre-emptive Measures
The most obvious way to protect your business would be to ensure you comply with all the legal requirements. Make sure you know what laws you are bound to and how to comply with them. Dealing with issues as soon as they arise would eliminate them or prevent them from escalating and becoming a criminal offence.

Non-compliance issues
Seeking legal advice for unfortunate non-compliance issues and/or pre-emptive measures can prove to be the more cost effective solution than solving the problem/s on your own. This could help prevent or minimise the damages that are highlighted above and ensure that matters are dealt with efficiently.

How We Can Help
iSolicitor prides itself in offering a unique service to SME’s by ensuring that your needs are maintained. By turning to us, we can provide you with valuable advice and help you by:
  • Providing free assessments of your needs with no obligation for you to pursue it further
  • Provide Compliance Check Audit of your business( to ensure pre-emptive legal protection)
  • Provide ad hoc skype consultations – saving you time and money so you do not need to take                                                                time out of your day to meet us in our office
  • Offering you fixed price packages – no hidden costs!
  • Offering online services outside of working hours and at weekends

Contact us on 020 8805 5307 or for a no obligation chat.