Q: I have a bicycle repair and hire business in a tourist area which I set up two years ago after being made redundant. It has gone really well and I am now thinking of branching out into building tailor-made bikes. Due to the specialist nature of this I feel I would benefit from having a website that could promote the business far and wide. However, as I will be using photographs that won't necessarily represent the tailor made products that people will be buying, I am wondering whether I should include any special terms and conditions of sale on my website?
A: There are extra obligations on business owners who sell goods online and generally all goods sold must correspond with their description. As your bikes are handmade you should point out to the consumer that those shown may differ in appearance, colour etc. Photographs should carry a similar disclaimer.
Providing accurate product information up front to consumers prior to a contract of sale being concluded is in fact a legal obligation, as is the requirement to inform them of the exact price payable, including any taxes, prior to delivery of the goods. From 13th June 2014 under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 you must also promise to deliver the goods within 30 days of the order being placed and allow a 14 day cooling off period during which the consumer can cancel their order without reason and return the goods (at their own expense).
If you fail to inform consumers on your website about their right to cancel their order/contract after receipt of the goods, the cooling off period is extended by an additional 12 months from 14 days. To provide yourself with better protection you should have a solicitor consider the terms and conditions prior to putting them on your website.