Doing Business – Don’t be afraid of the law-it can protect you

When dealing with customers
1. Manage the customer’s expectations.
2. Be clear about what you are selling to them or what services you will provide. Be equally clear about what you are not selling to them and the limit of the services you will provide.
3. Make sure you only ‘do the deal’ with a customer when you are comfortable that you know that you can deliver to their expectations.
4. Do the deal, but only after you have given the customer access to the small print in your ‘terms of business’.

Where the law fits in
1. The small print, the terms of business, should contain all the things that you should think about each time you make a sale but don’t have time to think about.
2. If you sell to private customers (“consumers”), by using a standardised set of terms of business you can ensure that you comply with the new consumer protection law which requires you to give certain information before the deal is done.
3. If things go wrong, yo

ur terms of business will protect you as they set out the boundaries of what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for. This puts you in a stronger position to deal with a disgruntled customer.

Distance and off premises selling – 3 important points
1. You must provide certain information if you’re selling goods or services to consumers through your website or by phone or text message (distance selling). Many of the obligations extend to the situation where you are arranging a sale whilst away from your own business base (off-premises selling). Consumers must be given a 14 day right to cancel the sale.
2. If you don’t follow the rules the law now allows the consumer 12 months to cancel the deal. You won’t be able to go to law and enforce non-payment and you may have to pay compensation. You may also be subject to criminal proceedings as it is now a criminal offence n

ot to provide consumers with their rights. Properly prepared terms of business will provide your customers with the information that you must give them.

3. Concluding sales to customers efficiently and professionally and managing their expectations will help set you apart from your competitors!

For an informal discussion around any of the issues in this article please contact Stuart McIntosh on 01543 440 308 or use the Contact Us form on the website

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