If you think you are one of the businesses that are going to get away with not complying with state and federal laws, rethink this though. Failing to comply with laws on either the state or federal levels means that you could be putting yourself in the way of lawsuits and serious fines that your business doesn’t want to come up against. In this article, we are going to talk more about eight legal compliance measures you can’t afford to do online business without.
#1 – GDPR
GDPR was created to ensure consistent privacy laws for the European Union. Whether you have business in the EU or not, you need to become compliant. GDPR compliance is a big deal, and it is necessary that you pay attention to the important parts of complying with this law with Marriot’s recent fine after losing the data of half a billion customers being a prominent reminder why.
A couple of those points are:
- Know what kind of data you are collecting
- Request consent from visitors
While these two are important, if you have other questions, you should speak with an attorney. If you are working with a PEO service, they may have legal counsel that you can speak to or be able to lead you through the process of becoming compliant with GDPR.
If you are asking, “what is a PEO?,” it is a personal employment organization that helps with either fully or partially with their HR needs.
#2 – Standard Terms & Conditions
Don’t forget to put together standard terms & conditions on your site. You must make sure to write standard terms and conditions to put as a page on your website. If your website doesn’t have this important part of site structure, you could leave yourself open to litigation.
#3 – eCommerce Online Advertising Compliance
The FTC has guidelines for advertising online just like they do advertising offline and the laws are put together to protect consumers from untrue and malicious intentions from advertisers. You also have to keep the CAN-SPAM act in mind when you are sending out email communications.
#4 – Collecting Taxes Online
There may be some confusion about collecting taxes online, but you need to ensure to get help with any questions that you have since failing to collect tax on taxable items can cause big problems.
When shopping at a store, you have to pay tax when you purchase something, but with Internet purchases, this is not the case. You should know there are differences, however.
You may have noted that you are charged tax from some sites and not from others. The reason some sites have to tax you and some don’t is because businesses that have a physical presence in your state, whether it be a store or an office, have to charge taxes. Businesses that do not have a physical address do not have to collect taxes.
Learning tax laws can be confusing, and the best way to ensure that you are compliant is by contacting your state’s revenue agency to see if you have the correct information on taxation before you start selling online.
#5 – Trademarks, copyrights, and patents
If you plan on selling anything online that infringes upon other’s rights, you are going to experience major problems. You don’t sell Dora the Explorer or her likeness on t-shirts or other merch for example. You may also want to look into getting these protections on your products to keep yourself protected although it is not necessary.
#6 – Age Restrictions
One of the laws you may stay in compliance with is COPPA or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. There are multiple points in the law, but one of the biggest things you need to pay attention to is not being able to collect children below thirteen years of age information.
#7 – Business Insurance
Whether you are a primarily online or both online and offline business, you need to make sure that you have any necessary insurance. Some of the insurance that is available to small businesses is as follows:
- General Liability
- Product Liability
- Professional Liability
- Home-based Insurance
- Commercial Liability
You can speak to an attorney and find out what type of insurance your business is going to need going forward. It is better to have insurance and not need it than to need it and not have it.
#8 – Licenses & Permits
If you are selling something online, make sure you don’t need any special licenses or permits to sell it. If you have questions about this, contact your local licensing department for more information.
Whether you are doing business online or offline, you need to ensure that you are fully compliant. Failure to comply with any of the above laws could come with steep consequences. Instead of worrying about challenges with the law, speak with professionals that can make sure that you are compliant.
Most compliance issues aren’t due to laws regarding the Internet. Most compliance problems are HR related problems, and this is why many companies decide to work with PEO companies to take the burden of themselves.
If you have been thinking about working with a PEO to help with some of the challenges that take place when you are running your business, make sure to ask them how familiar they are with compliance laws to ensure that they can support your company in the areas that matter the most. Learning how to be compliant in all areas will make your business much more safe and stable.