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Top Ten Tips for Online Fashion Retailing

posted on 8:09 AM, February 22, 2012
The Fashion Industry Group at Cassels Brock provides you with ten tips for Online Fashion Retailing. Benefit from these best tips by learning everything from creating a privacy policy to conforming to Canada's Online sale rules.

1.      Create a Privacy Policy and post it on your website.  Provide consumers with a Privacy Policy which complies with the 10 privacy principles under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act:  accountability; identifying the purpose; consent; limiting collection; limiting use, disclosure and retention; accuracy; safeguards; openness; individual access and challenging compliance.

 2.      Immediately notify consumers of any privacy breach.  If there is a breach of privacy legislation, notify the individual who provided the information and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada immediately.  Notification must be clear and should include enough information about the data breach so that the person that provided the personal information understands what has been disclosed.

 3.      Remember that the rules for electronic commerce are similar to the rules for other contracts.  When entering into an electronic contract, ensure that the terms and conditions are clear and accurate; ensure that acceptance of the contract is explicitly communicated by the consumer; and ensure that monetary or other consideration is provided.

 4.      Comply with the consumer protection legislation requirements.  Provide the consumer with your information (including your name, business address, phone number, e-mail address and an accurate description of the goods and/or services being sold) and a copy of the online contact by e-mail, fax or mail at the address provided by the consumer.

 5.      Consider the consequences relating to breaches of consumer protection legislation.  If you fail to disclose the above information to a consumer, and fail to give the consumer the ability to retain and print that information, the consumer may cancel the contract.  Moreover, a consumer is entitled to cancel a contract if you do not provide the consumer with an opportunity to correct errors before the formation of the contract and to expressly consent to the contract.

 6.      Ensure you provide a refund as required under consumer protection legislation.  You must refund all money within 15 days of cancellation of a contract by a consumer.  A consumer must then return goods, unused, within 15 days of cancellation or delivery, whichever is later.  Upon return, you must accept the goods and refund the reasonable costs of the return.  You should note that time periods and conditions relating to the right of cancellation vary across Canada.

7.      Create Terms and Conditions and post them on your website.  When creating your terms and conditions, consider the following:  outline that the consumer is bound by the terms and conditions; use click-wrap agreements, if possible, to bind consumers; post amendments to the terms and conditions online and bring these amendments to the attention of the consumer; address shipment and delivery costs in your terms and conditions; and link the terms and conditions to the return policy.

8.      Create a Return Policy if returns are permitted.  While returns and exchanges are not mandatory under Canadian law, many retailers set up voluntary policies that allow consumers to return or exchange items.  Even though there is no legal requirement to publish these policies, most retailers find it in the best interests of consumers to make them aware of the terms.  If this policy is provided, however, a legal obligation for the company is created.  The retailer should then provide all of the information regarding returns and refunds in one location and make the information clear and easy for the consumer to navigate.  The retailer should also have a return form that is accessible from the return policy and vice versa.

 9.      Comply with the French Language Requirements for Websites.  A company which does not have its head office in Quebec, or place of business or address in Quebec, cannot be compelled under Quebec laws to use French on its website.  Moreover, in the case of advertisements posted on the website of a company, a French version must only be provided where a company is located in Quebec or where products are available in Quebec.  However, most retailers operating a website thorough which they sell goods to Canadian consumers, give consumers the option of viewing the website in English or French. 

10.  Remember there are many other rules in Canada relating to online sales.  Retailers should note that there are also rules surrounding gift certificates, gift cards, sale of vintage clothes, final sales and the use of user generated content on a website.

For more information in relation to these topics or anything above, please contact a member of the Fashion Industry Practice Group at Cassels Brock. 


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