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 Distance Selling Regulations
One of the key requirements for sellers is set out in the European Distance Selling Regulations (sometimes called the DSRs for short) set out the legal requirements for selling online. As a Seller on Folksy you are legally bound by these regulations and form part of the legal rights on the consumer.
You need to provide:
- 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.
As a seller on Folksy you agree to comply with relevant UK law by:
- 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 deliver the same item.
- Distance Selling Regulations
- DTI: A Guide for Business on Distance Selling (PDF)
- 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
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 EU Regulation 1223/2009 (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. Marketing information and personal data
In using Folksy you agree not to contact your buyers unless they have opted-in to any further communication (through any channel - phone, mail or electronic).
You can ask your customer if they would like to opt-in to marketing based communications from you at the point at which you deliver the goods, for example in any literature you send with your item (or if they were to contact you for any reason), but you must not assume that they have opted in unless they have expressly chosen to do so. No one likes unsolicited communication.
Spam is a modern monster so let's not feed it!