The internet has made it possible for literally anybody to go into business for themselves. With demand for virtually any product or service in existence, savvy marketers and entrepreneurs have found ways to fulfil business niches and make a tidy profit. Ecommerce websites in particular have become popular with the B2B and B2C model, and make it very easy for individuals to find the best prices on any product or service. While the bureaucracy surrounding internet-based businesses is less so than brick and mortar establishments, there are still many areas where the same concerns apply. One of those areas is in the legal department. Below, we’ll review why you should carefully consider retaining the services of a lawyer for your ecommerce website.
Accounting and Tax Woes
Even small online businesses have to keep track of their books. This is not only because you want to manage your revenues and expenses carefully, but also because of tax concerns and any potential legal issues with the government.
Business accountants can be procured for surprisingly reasonable rates if you have a small ecommerce website. You do not want to face an audit or other scary situation involving the government without having your finances in clear, organised order. As such, looking into professionals who provide these services – even if you are a small business – is absolutely recommended.
An accountant will advise you to keep your overheads down as this is an effective way to grow your small business fast. Here’s a good resource from Butlers that outlines other ways to save money for your business.
Most ecommerce websites and businesses operate on very slim margins. This means that a complaint or dispute can wreak havoc on your bottom line. If your website becomes large enough, then you will sooner or later be a victim of fraudulent purchases. In some cases, credit card thieves use stolen information to purchase products from you. In other cases, a customer orders a product and then claims that it never arrives. Both of these situations can lead to charge backs, losses and frustration for your small website. A lawyer versed in these areas can help you protect your business and ensure that these fraudulent events do not eat away bit-by-bit at your website’s success.
While it may be rare if you’re a small ecommerce website, there will inevitably be complaints from customers – some of them involving threats of legal action. This often arises due to lost packages, slow shipping times or discrepancies between product descriptions and actual products. A lawyer versed in commercial law can help you craft an airtight terms of service agreement that will protect you in any and all cases. This can also be translated into laymen’s terms and referenced across multiple areas of your website, as a way to head off any potential complaints. If customers are aware of the terms and conditions prior to ordering, then they are much less likely to complain or otherwise feel aggrieved.
Having basic legal protection and clarification when operating any commercial business is highly recommended and absolutely essential. Between customer complaints, potential fraud and the need to cover your bases for tax purposes, retaining a commercial lawyer is just good business sense.