Legal Information: what sellers need to comply with
Folksy is a platform for people/businesses to sell to buyers. The legal contract for the purposes of any transaction between a buyer and a seller rests with the buyer and the seller and not Folksy.
This article sets out the key things you need to know and do as a seller to comply with UK law.
1. Compliance with the Consumer Contracts (previously Distance Selling) Regulations
Some of the key requirements for sellers are set out in the Consumer Contracts Regulations (previously the Distance Selling Regulations). This legislation sets out the legal requirements for distance selling and selling online. As a Seller on Folksy you are legally bound by these regulations which form part of the legal rights of the consumer.
As a seller on Folksy you agree to comply with relevant UK law by:
- Providing delivery details. The standard postage terms for Folksy are 3 days. If your item is not able to be posted in 3 days then you must state when it will be posted - this should be in the item description. All items must be received by the buyer in under 30 days unless you have agreed a longer term in writing (e.g. email) with the buyer.
- Stating your business address (even if this is your home address). This information is provided in the email to the buyer so you should make sure you have added your address on your shop set up / edit screen (via your dashboard). The buyer has a legal right to this information and it is not optional. If you don't provide it you are trading illegally.
- Cancellation of the transactions. The buyer must inform you if they wish to cancel the order and they must do this in writing (email is sufficient, but they can also use our standard form). Please contact the buyer to organise the return of the goods. Upon receipt of the returned goods, or evidence from the buyer that they have sent the goods back (whichever is soonest), you must provide a full refund of the cost of the item and any postage costs within 14 days. You have a right to deduct monies from refunds where goods "show signs of unreasonable use leading to diminished value". You cannot usually deduct for removal of packaging to inspect the item, but you can deduct for damage or wear and tear where the item has not just been checked but used. Custom orders are exempt from cancellation unless faulty.
- Returns policy for goods that are not faulty. In using Folksy you agree that the buyer has a right to terminate the contract and return the item even if the item is not faulty in any way (this is the consumer's right in UK law). They have the right to do this up to fourteen days after receipt of the items and a refund must be made within 14 days of you receiving the returned goods, or proof of the buyer has sent the goods back (whichever is soonest). The buyer pays for the cost of return postage. Custom orders are exempt from cancellation unless faulty.
- Returns policy for faulty goods. The consumer has a right to return goods if they develop a fault up to six months after receipt of the goods. Depending on the circumstances, the buyer may be entitled to a free repair, replacement or a full or partial refund. More information.
- If the item is lost in transit then, unless you can prove otherwise, you assume the contract is terminated and you must provide a refund or re-deliver the same item.
- The Consumer Contracts Regulations (Gov.uk)
- Guide to Online and Distance Selling for Businesses (Gov.uk)
- Consumer Contracts Regulations (Which?)
- Citizens Advice Bureau on Consumer Rights Act 2015
The best source of advice is your local Trading Standards Service which can be contacted through the Trading Standards website.
2. Regulation around certain types of goods
All Folksy sellers must comply with UK product legislation, including the following:
- General Product Safety Regulations
- Toy Safety Regulations
- The UK Cosmetics Regulation (or EU Regulation 1223/2009 Cosmetics Regulation for sellers in Northern Ireland)
- Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations
- The Hallmark Act 1973
- Nickel in Jewellery Regulations
- Food Imitation Safety Regulations
- Food Hygiene Regulations
In all cases you should make sure your work complies with the above legislation. If in doubt contact your local trading standards office.
The two most common queries we receive in relation to product legislation are:
- If you want to sell handmade soaps, scrubs or bath bombs you MUST ensure your products comply with the UK Cosmetics Regulation , even if you only intend to sell on a very small scale. This remains the current legislation covering the production and sale of soap in the UK. The aim of the legislation is to protect the public as well as the maker.
- Cosmetics are defined as "any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, correcting body odours, protecting them, or keeping them in good condition" as stated in the The Cosmetics Products (Safety) Regulations 2008. This covers bath bombs, scrubs and soaps that are allowed for sale on Folksy.
- If you sell cosmetics you should contact your local trading standards office to find our how you can comply with the regulations (which covers use of different ingredients as well as labelling).
- A toy is "any product or material designed or clearly intended for use in play by a child of less than 14 years of age" as stated in The Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995. You should contact your local trading standards office to clarify what you need to do to comply with the regulations (there are a couple of different routes you can take both of which require certification).
- Toy Manufacturers and their responsibilities
- If you are planning to sell your homemade food, please contact your local Council for advice on the rules, as laws vary depending on where you live and how regularly you sell.
- If you intend to make an income from your homemade food, it is likely that you will need to register your kitchen with the local authority (this is free to do) and take a simple course in food hygiene.
Food Hygiene - A Guide for Businesses
You can find more information on your legal responsibilities as a seller and manufacturer here www.gov.uk/guidance/product-safety-for-manufacturers
3. GDPR, personal data and marketing information
The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) is a UK law tailored by the Data Protection Act 2018. It came into force on 25th May 2018 and applies to all businesses operating in the UK that process personal data. If you have have an online shop selling goods within the UK or to the EU, you collect and process personal data (such as a customer’s name, email address and postal address), which means the GDPR applies to you. So whether you are a sole trader, a limited company or just a hobbyist just selling a few of your products online, you MUST comply with the regulations.
As a seller on Folksy you agree to comply with General Data Protection Regulations. These include:
- Only adding customers to your mailing list if you have their explicit consent. You can contact your customer about issues related to their order but you must not contact them about anything else, send them marking information or add them to any mailing list unless they have opted-in to any further communication (through any channel - phone, mail or electronic).
- Understanding what data you have and where it is stored. As a Folksy seller, the personal data you collect will probably be: Customer’s name, Customer’s postal address, Customer’s email, Customer’s username on Folksy, Recipient’s name (if applicable), Recipient’s postal address (if applicable).
- Making sure any personal data you store is secure. You have a responsibility to make sure the data you collect is safe – both online and offline.
- Only using personal data for the specific purpose you have collected it for. In the case of a purchase, that would be: delivering the item(s), emailing confirmation of the order, emailing the customer with delivery details for that order, and storing for your financial records. You must not use the personal data you have gained from that order for any other purpose or use that data to contact them about anything unrelated to that particular purchase.
- Deleting someone’s personal data if requested. Under GDPR everyone has the right to be deleted from your records and database – this is known as the right to erasure or ‘the right to be forgotten’. Individuals can make a request for erasure verbally or in writing. You have one month to respond to a request. You will need to delete their data from all your records as well as any third-party service providers, such as your email service. If a customer asks to be erased from Folksy, we may also contact you and ask you to delete them from your records and any databases. In both cases, if you need to retain information about an order they have placed with you for your business or legal records, you can still do that but you will need to anonymise that data so there is no way of identifying the person (eg their name, email or postal address). Read more here https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/individual-rights/right-to-erasure/
- Paying the ICO Controller Charge fee - if required. Any business that processes data may need to pay the ICO a data protection fee (unless they are exempt). This is also called a Controller Charge. Check to see if you should be registered with the ICO here https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/register/self-assessment/
Read our article on GDPR for more advice and information http://blog.folksy.com/2018/04/17/gdpr-need-independent-designer-maker