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Did you know there are a bunch of policies and pages you need to include in an eCommerce website in Australia? Some of these are straightforward. For example, Australian businesses should provide their contact details on their website. That means their ABN and address and preferably an email address or phone number, which are usually displayed on a Contact Us page or somewhere on the home page. Also, the pricing of any items for sale on the website must be clearly displayed. So far, so easy.
Before we look at these individually, we want to stress that the best way to go about getting policies for your website is seeing a lawyer and that this article should just be used as a guide.
When we asked Chris Walker, General Manager at design company MagicDust, where his clients find their policies he explained that they generally go through a law firm.
“There are websites where you can get generic policies but they’re mostly based in the US so you’d need to make sure that they’re relevant for Australia,” explains Chris. “It’s easiest and safest going through a lawyer and there are certain law firms that specialise in helping small businesses with website policies. We usually recommend a firm called Legal Vision https://legalvision.com.au/ which specialises in preparing documents for small businesses,” says Chris.
Collecting personal details is important for eCommerce businesses as it supports: a wide range of marketing options, the development of new services or products, market research, and website user experience and personalisation.
Most privacy policies will also include information on Cookies – a small text file that a site may place on a customer’s computer as a tool to remember their preferences.
This policy outlines how customers can pay and how you are going to keep your customers’ payment details safe. According to The Australian Guidelines for Electronic Commerce payment information should include:
Taking credit card payments on your site will require sensitive data to be encrypted and so you need to advise your customers that your site is protected by, for example:
For more information on your Australian eCommerce obligations go to The Australian Guidelines for Electronic Commerce.
This policy explains how customers can return or cancel an order and request a refund or, in some cases, store credit or exchange. This policy is vitally important for eCommerce businesses – where customers can’t try and test products before buying – and it’s the one that customers are going to regularly check out. It’s therefore a good idea to have a good think about what your terms for refund will be and what costs you are going to cover.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) states that a seller should cover freight costs if customers want to return faulty goods, or if an item needs to go back to the manufacturer. For all other returns, it is the responsibility of the customer to arrange – and pay for – transportation. That said, the offer of free return shipping is a major drawcard for customers.
Australia Post offers a range of returns solutions whereby businesses can decide whether they or the customer pays for return shipping. Regardless of who foots the bill it’s important to provide access to an easy-to-print return label or include one with the original parcel.
This page clearly outlines the legal terms governing your website. Your Ts&Cs will state the terms that visitors, users and customers of your website must agree to in order to browse your website, buy your products or to use your services.
The latest Australian Consumer Law stipulates that you must include the following details in your website Terms and Conditions:
Legal123 has some great information on writing your Terms and Conditions and recommends they include:
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