E-Commerce Stuff... lol

  fourjays 21:19 11 Jan 2005

I didn't think this was quite right to go into the WebDesign forum, as it is more along the consumer lines...

I have now made an e-commerce website for the cards that my Mum hand-paints/hand-makes. I found a link in another post, from Trading Standards.

After reading it, I was kinda confused as to what bits I had covered and not covered in the various terms and conditions I have put on the website. I know some can't really apply, due to the nature of the products being sold (Returns: Would there be a reason for returning a card?), and the fact that some things only seem to apply to large business', not 'one person trying to start a business' websites.

You can find the terms and conditions my Dad helped me to write here: click here

Let me know what you think needs adding, changing and whatever. I am sure there are many things I have forgotten and left out.

PS: I keep reading everywhere that it is necessary to go to a lawyer/solicitor regarding this, but with this being a way to make money, it doesn't seem a good idea to spend money we haven't got. :(

  fourjays 22:22 11 Jan 2005

bumpety bump. :)

  PurplePenny 23:37 11 Jan 2005

Hi Fourjays, I was the one that posted the link to the Trading Standards information.

I'm not surprised that you're confused, it's a minefield. I know that the legislation is there to protect the consumer but it makes life very, very difficult for the small trader.

There are a few things that you still need to add to comply with various regulations on e-commerce and distance selling. That link that I posted contains a very good checklist and you really do need to work right through it putting everything in to your terms and conditions. For instance you need to give full company details - a name, a UK geographic address and an e-mail address.

You have a statement covering privacy and security but according to the Trading Standards checklist you also have to add a policy on the use of cookies. If you are in doubt about what osC does with cookies you can ask on their forums (click here).

You have these statements under "shipping and returns":

"We cannot be responsible for loss or damaged goods once despatched (Hopefully Never).

No refunds will be accepted."

I think that you need to check these very carefully. I know that the cards are handmade to order but as they are to a pattern offered on the site they will still come under distance selling regulations which state that the customer has seven days in which to cancel the order (from the day after *delivery* of the goods).

That seems very unfair on small businesses. A larger firm can absorb the cost of a cancelled order, or possibly find another buyer for the goods, but to a small business it represents wasted materials and, even worse, wasted man hours with little hope of recovery.

I queried this with the Office of Fair Trading (we too sell made-to-order handmade goods). Their answer was that although the goods are made-to-order they are made to a standard design which is offered on the website or in a brochure, they are not special orders (which would be exempt from the seven day cancellation period).

What this boils down to is that you *do* have to state the consumer's right to cancel in your terms and conditions and you can't say that you don't give refunds.

If you want to e-mail the Office of Fair Trading to check on this for yourself there is contact e-mail on the OFT web site (click here).

On the bright side I doubt very much that anyone will ever cancel an order for one of your mum's lovely cards :-)

I like what you've done with osCommerce. It can look very samey straight out of the box but you've made some nice cosmetic changes. BTW - one small but important detail - all your pages are showing as osCommerce in the title bar so you need to change the page titles. (Sorry it is so long since I used osCommerce that I can't remember where you add the page titles.)

  PurplePenny 23:51 11 Jan 2005

Oops .. I went on for so long about the "no refunds" bit that I forgot to write any comments on the "loss or damaged goods" section!

I'm not sure whether you can refuse to be responsible for lost or damaged goods. Neither the Trading Standards information leaflet nor the Office of Fair Trading pages on Distance Selling Regulations mention goods being lost or damaged in the post. However it might be covered by this:

"You must deliver goods or provide services within 30 days"

which does imply that you have a duty to resupply the goods if they go missing. I think we need FE here, he's The Man when it comes to consumer rights.

Whether or not you have a legal duty to resupply goods that are lost or damaged it is good customer relations to do so. Be sure to send everything by an insured service and you can make a claim to Royal Mail or courier if something does go wrong.

Good Luck

  fourjays 00:06 12 Jan 2005

Thanks for the compliments. I did say to my Dad 'I think you have to allow returns, depending on the reason for the return' to him, but Dads being Dads...

I think we can do the order cancellation before delivery thing, especially as it will probably take 7 days maybe to dispatch orders that excede more than 3 cards.

Ill look into changing the page titles. Hopefully it is quite simple (like HTML), and doesn't require it to be done to every page.

I agree, we need the FE on this one.

  spuds 00:18 12 Jan 2005

Checking over the website, I would suggest that you take note of PurplePenny's remarks.Some very good advice there.

Two other suggestions that I would make, is the removal of the hit counter, as this doesn't give business credit to any site, plus remove the '932 Requests since',as this gives competitors information possibly best kept to yourself, and any potential buyers would not be very interested in how many people have made requests.

Finally,have you checked and tried your card enlargement facility. Work required there, as I only managed to capture a quarter of the picture, on enlargement.

I am just offering a comment, so please do not take offence to my possible biting remarks of your website layout.

  fourjays 10:03 12 Jan 2005

Yea, I think you make a valid point about the hit counter.

The 932 requests thing is built into oscommerce, and I have no clue how I could remove it. As far as I can understand, I think it is referring to MySql queries, because we haven't had any orders as yet. (The site only went online on Sunday.)

Which card/s were you having difficulty in enlarging? They all work fine here, but things always work fine on the web owners computer. I didn't make the enlargment thing, but if it isn't working right, I may be able to find a fix for it on their website.

  fourjays 10:10 12 Jan 2005

I have been checking the enlargement thing, and some photos are too big for the screen size, so I guess it is an over-large photo. Let me know which one it is, and I will shrink the image.

  fourjays 12:01 12 Jan 2005


  spuds 12:31 12 Jan 2005

All picture enlargements are far too big on my screen.If you are only getting some photos of extra large proportions, then I would suggest that you view via a friends computer, as a on-line example.

  fourjays 12:34 12 Jan 2005

I posted in the oscommerce forums, and I found out how to change the page title - Ive done that now.

I also asked about the requests thing. It is basically like a hit counter, but shows the total number of times pages have been loaded from the catalog. So while browsing the catalog, the requests will go up each time a page is loaded. Im not sure whether this should/could be removed.

I also asked about cookies, and I was given this link:
click here

Some of it is kinda confusing, but I guess this is the part I am after:

"Sessions are used to keep track of a customer and what they have stored in the shopping cart whilst they are browsing your store."

What other things do you think I should include/change/etc in the terms and conditions, etc.


PS: I am about to start altering the shipping info.

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