Many businesses are almost exclusively run through a website. As a business owner you may have already thought about the legal issues surrounding customers making purchases through your website. However, in addition to protecting yourself for these online purchases, there are some important legal disclaimers that every website should include.
Terms of Service
The goals of the Terms of Service are to:
It is important that the Terms of Service reflect the particularities of your business and website. Therefore, careful drafting is critical to ensure that your business is protected.
Endorsements and Testimonials
If your business relies on customer reviews and endorsements to get more sales, then you need to be mindful of the rules around posting endorsements online. The Federal Trade Commission has released guides related to endorsements. The guides are meant to ensure that endorsements are honest and not misleading, i.e. “an endorsement must reflect the honest opinion of the endorser and can’t be used to make a claim that the product’s marketer couldn’t legally make.” The FTC has specific rules about the required disclosures around an endorsement. In particular, before posting a customer testimonial, you should obtain that customer’s consent. As a business owner, you also have to be wary of only posting testimonials where the customer has had better than the typical consumer experience. Again, careful wording around the posting of your customer’s endorsements will protect your business. Furthermore, your business may be subject to specific industry rules related to the posting and content of customer endorsements and testimonials.