Even if your website seems harmless enough, giving advice online can pose a massive risk.
You might be thinking “well, I don’t give any risky advice”, so here are some examples of seemingly harmless advice going wrong:
aggravating a chronic health condition by following an online diet and fitness plan
falling prey to a computer virus after following a hacked link
getting concussed after falling from a ladder while following online instructions on how to take the perfect flat-lay photograph.
If you are selling goods or services to consumers or small businesses, you are required by law to let your customers know their rights. The ACCC (the government body in charge of making sure that sellers comply with the Australian Consumer Law, or ACL) is cracking down on sites that don’t. Serious fines apply.
If you’re not selling anything on your website, but you are providing information or links to information, you will at the very least need a Disclaimer.
It’s more common than you think. The ACCC received more than 20,000 complaints from consumers last year.
That’s 20,000 reasons to make sure your website is up to scratch.
You know that your business is unique. So why would you use a standard legal document?
It’s not worth the risk when you’re operating online because of the strict regulation in this area. The ACCC inspects sites to make sure their websites properly notify customers of their rights. How do you know that the template you’re using complies?
Would you use someone else’s financial models, advertising campaigns, or business plan? Of course not! What applies to one person’s business won’t apply exactly to another – no matter how similar.
What if my customers are small businesses?
The majority of complaints to the ACCC come from small businesses, who are particularly concerned with misleading and deceptive practices.
Click here for some guidance on what amounts to an unfair contract term.
Unless you’re completely up-to-date and conversant with all of the consumer legislation currently in place, you really should see a lawyer.