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3 Legal Issues Online Retailers Must Be Aware of

3 Legal Issues Online Retailers Must Be Aware of

Many experts believed that the eCommerce industry would peak in 2011. However, it has been growing faster than anyone would have predicted. The industry reportedly grew 14.6% in 2015. It grew another 16% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2016.

Rapid industry growth creates new opportunities for online retailers. However, it has also attracted more scrutiny from regulators. Governments around the world have imposed new laws for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Protecting consumers from unscrupulous merchants
  • Limiting the competitive edge that online retailers have over their brick-and-mortar counterparts
  • Combatting fraud
  • Fighting money laundering
  • Limiting access to potentially harmful products

Here are some legal issues online retailers must be aware of.

1. Online Sales Taxes

When Amazon first began selling products online, it didn’t have to pay sales tax. The law stipulated that only brick-and-mortar businesses needed to pay it.

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Sales tax laws are now applied to online stores as well. Unfortunately, they vary from state to state and country to country. If you have a physical presence in a state, you may need to pay sales taxes regardless of where your customers are located.

In California, you may also be required to pay sales taxes if you have a representative in the state, even if your main office is based elsewhere. Some states will also require you to charge a sales tax if you sell to customers in their jurisdiction, even if your business is technically based elsewhere.

“Navigating sales taxes is challenging for all businesses,” says Ryan Kh, business development consultant and founder of Catalyst for Business.

“I encourage my clients to review sales data and see which states they receive the bulk of their sales. They may want to establish a physical presence in one of those jurisdictions to avoid the pains of double taxation online retailers often face. Of course, it depends on whether those states have a reasonable tax rate.”

2. Minimum Advertised Price

If you are selling products from another company, they may impose restrictions on advertising. One of the most common restrictions is the minimum advertised price policy many suppliers have.

If you enter into an agreement with a manufacturer, you must follow this policy carefully. According to an infographic by TradeVitality, there are a number of reasons MAP policies are enacted, including preventing merchants from engaging in price wars, which can put pressure on the manufacturer to lower their wholesale price.

It’s important to read the agreement with each supplier carefully. Never advertise a price below what they will allow.

3. Dealing with Fraudulent Payments

Fraudulent payments are a serious concern for online merchants. Unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, online retailers must usually accept liability for any fraudulent payments.

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Why is the liability different for e-commerce companies? The law states that if a brick-and-mortar retailer uses a CHIP Reader, then it is not their responsibility to determine whether or not fraud took place. It’s up to the bank to monitor the account for fraudulent activity if the retailer took all reasonable precautions.

When an online retailer accepts payment, the transaction is classified as “card not present.” Since the retailer isn’t able to confirm the identity of the buyer, they usually assume the liability. If it is a fraudulent purchase, they will have to pay restitution to the cardholder.

However, this law is not absolute. It is usually based on the assumption that online retailers offer less security than the customers bank. If you can show that you have exceeded expectations with your online security, you may be able to shift the liability back to the bank.

“The liability shift protects the entity who offers the greater level of security by holding the other entity with less secure systems responsible for fraud,” said Carolyn Balfany, a safety expert with MasterCard.

However, it’s difficult to meet this burden, unless the customer has a lax bank that overlooked red flags of fraudulent activity.

“The one thing that merchants are going to have to struggle with, as long as we have cards that are chip and signature, we will see a shift to online fraud,” Mallory Duncan, senior vice president and general counsel at the National Retail Federation, told Yahoo Finance. “Merchants will have to put more roadblocks in the way of transactions in an effort to keep down the fraud occurring online.”

Conclusion

eCommerce companies are being more tightly regulated these days. They must be aware of all laws and take all reasonable precautions to abide by them.

Featured photo credit: Pexels / Negative Space via pexels.com

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Annie Qureshi

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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