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Selling your jewellery in an online store is a business model that enables you to reach new customers you could not previously access, thus expanding your business into a greater market. Indeed, this fact is especially true if you sell niche or artisan jewellery, where you can find customers across the country for your goods. However, when you operate a business online, you need to ensure you:

  • protect customer privacy;
  • limit your business’ risk and liability;
  • comply with consumer law; and
  • honour your contracts.

As such, there are a few key online legal documents that can help you achieve these tasks. This article will explain what legal documents you may need if you run an online jewellery business in New Zealand.

Sale Terms and Conditions

This document sets out the contractual relationship between you and your customers when they order jewellery from your website. In essence, it is a set of clauses that your customers accept when they make a purchase. Typically, customers do not have a chance to negotiate these terms as they would with other contracts. Therefore, your sales terms and conditions must be:

  • fair;
  • appropriately distributing the bargaining power;
  • easy to read;
  • straightforward; and
  • written in plain language.

If there is an issue and you have to go to court, a judge can rule a term as unfair in your terms and conditions where it is appropriate. Furthermore, the court can then decide if that term does not apply to your contractual relationship. Because of this, it is crucial to think about what power the customer has in your contracts and how you can treat them fairly.

Sale terms and conditions typically include clauses that cover:

  • product descriptions and disclaimers;
  • pricing and payment details;
  • consumer law compliance;
  • customer rights and obligations;
  • delivery;
  • distribution of risk;
  • warranties; and
  • extra costs.

For example, in your terms and conditions, you may include a disclaimer that you cannot guarantee that the colour of your jewellery will look exactly as it does in your product photos. Indeed, you may explain this could be due to different colour gradients on computer monitors. In this way, you can limit your liability if a customer complains about the colour of their jewellery.

Website Terms of Use

A website terms of use document is a policy unique to operating your business online. This document applies to anyone that visits your website, whereas your sales terms and conditions only bind your paying customers. You will need to include a phrase in your terms of use that indicates visitors’ continued use of your website shows their agreement to your terms.

What this document includes will depend on how much interaction you allow with users on the site itself. For instance, you will likely need a clause detailing appropriate user conduct if you allow users to submit:

  • feedback;
  • their own content;
  • reviews; 
  • forum content; or
  • comments.

Other clauses you may need in your website terms of use include:

  • granting a licence to users;
  • intellectual property protection;
  • user rights and obligations;
  • liability limitations;
  • disclaimers;
  • prohibited conduct; and
  • warranties.

Privacy Policy

When you operate a business online, you will likely collect the personal information of your customers. Personal information is any data that can identify a living person, which includes:

  • customers’ names;
  • delivery addresses;
  • debit and credit card details;
  • tracking cookies; 
  • IP information; and
  • email addresses.

When you handle personal information, you need to comply with New Zealand privacy law. One of its requirements is that you tell people how you handle their personal information and inform them every time you collect it. Many businesses do this with a privacy statement or privacy policy, which the Privacy Commission has a handy tool to help you develop here.

Your privacy policy should tell people how you handle their personal data, including its:

  • collection;
  • use;
  • storage;
  • security;
  • disposal;
  • access;
  • correction; and
  • disclosure.

Other Critical Policies

The above are important legal policies that you should have, but there are other documents that you can draft for better customer relations and transparency. In addition, depending on what you sell, you may have other legal requirements you need to meet.

For example, if you sell or exchange secondhand jewellery, you may need a licence for pawnbrokery, depending on your circumstances. If you do, you will need to inform customers that you have a valid licence.

Some useful policies to have include a:

  • shipping and delivery policy;
  • returns and exchanges policy;
  • gift and gift card policy; and
  • complaints policy.

Key Takeaways

If you run an online business selling jewellery, you need to take reasonable steps to protect your business and comply with relevant laws. One way to do this is to draft three key legal documents for your website, which are your:

  • sale terms and conditions;
  • website terms of use; and
  • privacy policy.

Be sure to seek legal advice to look over these documents to ensure they are doing their job and protecting your business and its customers. You may also need other policies or documents, depending on the unique circumstances of your business. If you would like more information or help with legal documents for your online jewellery business, contact LegalVision’s eCommerce lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I promote my handmade jewellery online?

Using online marketplaces and social media can help you gain insights into what customers would be interested in purchasing your handmade jewellery. However, when you do advertise, be sure to do so according to appropriate advertising standards and consumer law.

Does my online jewellery business need a privacy policy?

Your online jewellery business will likely collect personal information from your customers, such as their delivery addresses for orders. Therefore, you will need a privacy policy for your online store.

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