If you sell goods, provide a service or have employees, then we can help you ensure that you protect your business, your reputation, and ultimately your profits.
Running a business can be daunting when it comes to legislation; your employees have legal rights and you have legal obligations to your customers. You also need to ensure that when providing your service or goods to customers, that you are also protected from being ripped off.
We can help you with:
- Contracts of employment;
- Service contracts;
- Selling on-line;
- Selling products;
- Collecting debts;
And much more.
You need to be aware of the legal protection that exists to your customers and your employees
We live in a time when consumer service is key and bad news travels faster than ever with the growing use of the internet. “My years of experience working with one of the country’s leading consumer organisations, speaking to consumers who have legal issues, has demonstrated that that firms, big and small, misunderstand the law, and even try to defend the in-defendable” says Joanne.
If you employ even 1 person, then you should be aware of their rights and your obligations.
Getting it wrong costs time, money and reputation. So make sure you get it right first time, and every time.
We can attend your offices or arrange venues to offer tailor made training sessions to suit your needs. The sessions can last from 1 hour to 1 day, for small to large groups. and are full of examples, delivered in a fun way to understand. We can also prepare bespoke training videos to suit your needs, or run a video conference training session.
Training is a cost effective way of dealing with issues that can arise with customers and if you would like to discuss your needs and/or would like a quotation then you may contact us or visit Consumer Genie
Solicitors for Business
If you are a small business owner or you are starting out in business, it’s important to take expert legal advice. At J L Lezemore solicitors we have over 18 years of experience in consumer, contract and business law. Contact us today for expert business law advice.
Business Law Advice Herts and Essex
We can assist with:
- Contracts of employment
- Service contracts
- Selling on-line
- Selling products
- Collecting debts
Employment contracts set out the basis of an employee’s relationship with their employer. All employees have a contract, even if nothing is in writing. The contract sets out the rights, duties and obligations of both parties. To ensure that both parties are aware of the full extent of their duties, it’s important to have up to date, legally sound contracts in place for your employees. Having a written contract in place can help prevent disputes arising at a later stage, or help to deal with disputes at the earliest possible stage.
If there is no written contract in place, or if the contract is silent on a particular matter, the terms will be said to be ‘implied’ by law. Some terms are implied by law (such as the right to certain amounts of holiday or rest periods) and some will be implied by custom and practice, by agreements
with trade unions, by verbal agreement or by necessity (for instance an employee being in possession of the relevant qualifications).
At the very minimum, employers have a duty to provide an employee with a written statement of employment particulars. This must be provided within 2 months of the employment commencing and must contain certain basic information regarding the role, the working conditions and other standard information.
It must include:
- The names of the employer and employee
- The date the job commences
- The job title or job description
- Payment information (salary or hourly rate and how often payment is to be made)
- The working hours
- The employee’s holiday entitlement
- Notice periods
- Rules applicable to absences due to sickness
- Pension entitlement
- Disciplinary and Grievance procedures
- Details of ‘collective agreements’ applicable to the role
Taking the time to prepare contracts of employment for each employee removes ambiguity and helps present and resolve disputes. Every business and every industry is different – as such, every employment contract needs to be different. For help drafting or negotiation your contracts of employment, contact J L Lezemore solicitors today.
If you are engaging the services of a service provider, freelancer or other outsourced worker, then it pays to have in place a service agreement. Similar to employment contracts, these help to prevent disputes and to resolve them if they do arise.
Service agreements help to prevent misunderstandings between you and the client or service provider. While verbal agreements and handshakes are often sufficient, the lack of clarity caused by the absence of a contract or agreement can result in expensive and protracted litigation if something goes awry.
Service agreements are also commonly used for senior level employees such as directors. These agreements can focus more on performance and delivery than on simply the terms of the relationship.
Like a contract, a service agreements will address most of the conditions applicable to the role. However, there may also be more detailed remuneration packages such as pension plans, share options, incentives and insurance packages to be considered.
Often, the service agreement will need to be read alongside other contractual material relevant to the job, such as the employee handbook. Service agreements usually refer to the duties owed to the company by the director. The law imposes duties of skill and care on directors, as well as certain duties of trust. There are also legal restrictions regarding what a director can and can’t do in respect of dealing with the company’s shares and information regarding them.
If you are placing senior employees on a service agreement, it pays to take expert advice. At J L Lezemore Solicitors, we can help you draft, negotiate, alter or update your service agreements.
The internet provides myriad business opportunities for sole traders, businesses and private individuals. However, it isn’t a free for all – you must make sure you are complying with your legal obligations at all times when selling goods online or by any other means of distance selling.
The law states that you must give out certain information to customers prior to conclusion of the contract. These rules are binding on anyone who sells goods online and you can’t opt out of them.
Customers have from the moment the contract is concluded until 14 days after the date of delivery to cancel. There are some exceptions to this period, for instance if you are supplying perishable goods such as flowers or food which may go bad.
If a product is returned because it is defective, then you, as the seller, are liable for the cost of returning it. You must also provide a full refund, including a refund of delivery costs incurred by the customer.
If the customer returns the product because it is unsuitable, then you will be liable for the cost unless you have specifically stated otherwise on your website.
You must also comply with the various Data Protection acts and regulations to ensure that the customer’s data is kept secure.
On your website, you must display:
- The name of your business and contact information
- An accurate description of the goods or services
- The price (including tax)
- Payment methods
- Delivery information including estimated time and the delivery cost
- The minimum length of the contract (if appropriate)
- How the contract can be terminated
- Information about the customer’s right to cancel including whether or not the customer is responsible for paying to return goods if they cancel.
This information must be viewable by the purchaser before they place their order.
There are certain other things you must provide customers with if selling online. You must:
- Provide details of the steps involved in placing an order
- Send an electronic acknowledgement of the order as soon as possible
- Have in place reasonable means of allowing the customer to correct an order
- Provide your email address and VAT number
- Provide a copy of your terms and conditions
You’re also obliged to get in touch with the customer after the order has been placed but before the items or services have been delivered. You must contact them to provide them with:
- Details of the items they have purchased
- The total cost including tax & delivery
- How delivery will be made
- The minimum length of the contract
- How they can cancel the contract
- An address where complaints can be sent
- Details of any helpline call charges
- Details of after-sales care or guarantees
The information must be clear and displayed in an appropriate way. In the case of online sales, then there must be a page on your site containing the relevant information and it must be brought to the purchaser’s attention before the contract is completed.
If you are planning on setting up an online business or are selling goods online, it pays to take expert advice from an experienced solicitor. If you would like more information on selling goods online, contact Joanne Lezemore today. Click here to get in touch.
These remain difficult times for small businesses. It’s more important than ever to stay on top of your cash flow. Chasing up invoices and debts can be time consuming and if payment dates are missed, there can be serious consequences for your business.
We can assist you in chasing debts of all types including invoices, loans, consumer debt and any other type of debt.
In most cases, a letter of demand from a solicitor is sufficient to elicit payment. In the majority of these case, we won’t have to go to court to enforce the debt. However, if we do, we will advise and represent you at every stage.
If necessary, we can take steps to ‘freeze’ the debtor’s assets to prevent them disposing of their property before you are paid. We can also seek recovery of interest and expenses which have arisen on the debt.
The law allows businesses to recover interest on debt at a rate of 8% above base rate, starting from 30 days after the debt falls due. The relevant date for payment is the later of the date of delivery of the goods or the date on which notice (i.e. an invoice) was given to the debtor.
If you need help recovering a debt, contact Joanne Lezemore today.
Business Law Advice Essex and Herts
You can choose how you would like to receive your legal advice, when you want it and how you access that advice. We offer services in person, in writing or by video conference – at a time most suitable to you. We offer a flexible and modern service outside traditional 9-5 hours, meaning you can choose when and how to contact us. Please visit our contact page for more information.