Reviewing your situation this Easter – your T&Cs

Easter break – are you enjoying the sunshine, taking some well-deserved R ‘n’ R from your business? Are you comatose from all those eggs yet? Promising yourself a new improved diet regime this week?

Perhaps you are thinking about that ‘to do’ list you made in January – did that include creating or reviewing your T&Cs?

It can be one of those jobs, can’t it? See what one of our clients said about this recently:

“To be honest, updating the T&Cs for my consultancy business wasn’t exactly the most exciting thing on my to-do list. It was easy to ignore and put off. But as more and more large brands came on board to work with me I realised I needed to get my T&Cs into shape to protect both my business and my clients”

Sound familiar? You got better things to do, surely…. But do you have more essential things to do than make sure your business is protected and your risks are managed?

We can help. You can read the rest of Emma’s testimonial, and others like hers, here but she said:

Now, knowing how simple it was, I just wish I had done it sooner.

Heather makes the whole process so straightforward. Her down-to-earth approach is approachable and supportive. She understands the needs and requirements of small businesses and is intuitive in her recommendations. She worked quickly and put in extra time to meet an ambitious deadline I had given her helping me run my business more efficiently. I would absolutely recommend her expert services to anyone wanting to be smarter about how they run their small business.”

Emma Drury-Jones, Owner of At Her Table

If so, we have a great offer for you available until 17th May 2019.

A full review of your current T&Cs for a fixed fee of £150.00.

You will receive:

  • A full review by email of what you have.
  • Advice on where they have weaknesses and/or gaps, and whether they are fit for purpose.
  • No obligation options to improve them

either by purchasing a template from one of our specially created options for wedding suppliers for just £225.00 with the BONUS of a FREE 30 minute telephone call to help you complete the template, or fire us some general legal and contracts Q and A’s.

or providing a bespoke contract created with your specific business delivery in mind for the fixed price of just £400.00 (our usual prices start at £425.00) by Stanford Gould Limited.

For more information email us to take advantage of this offer.

(Terms and conditions apply – well of course they do! It’s us!)

Exhibitor at a Wedding Fair? get GDPR savvy – Part 3 : The Aftermath.

The Aftermath of the Wedding Fair – hopefully you feel good!

It was time and money well spent. A positive and productive day at the Wedding Fair. You came back with leads and you converted some of them, (all of them? I need an emoji here, but WordPress or my IT skills don’t allow….)

having chatted and previewed and showed off what you do, what you know and what you make. They were impressed. In the aftermath they become a client or customer.

Yay!

Whats next?

If they want to become a client, make sure you get T and C’s or a client contract to them as you set out the proposed works and prices, as part of the contractual basis for delivering your goods and services to them. In your terms, you should remind them of your privacy policy and the basis for processing and retaining their data is – get this added to your T and C’s now.

It’s called layering – telling the client at lots of different points in the customer experience what you are doing with their data and reminding them of their rights, and their options.

If you need help with your T and C’s try our templates…. www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk

If you need a privacy policy have a look at the template in our GDPR Starter Pack or on the ICO website.

Anyone who is on your data base legitimately – either having given a clear consent since May 2018 – or (…and this is important) who consented under the previous regime which required very little to evidence this agreement, can continue to receive your mail chimp or other emails or electronic communications and sales info. Please ensure there is a clear opt out or unsubscribe option for them,  that is easy to use and doesn’t involve multiple tasks or clicks.

Its a good idea to annual check that the contact details you have for your Mailing List or Subscribers are still valid and up to date – your obligation to ensure data is accurate – and that they still want to receive material from you. You don’t need ANOTHER tick box checked, or positive consent reply to this – its just good housekeeping. It should not decimate your mailing list each time!

Any questions about GDPR, contracts or legal issues generally we would be happy to help. You can find us at

www.stanfordgould.co.uk 

www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk

FB                           www.facebook.com/stanfordgould

Twitter                 @stanford_gould 

LinkedIn               https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-stanford-0033047/

Exhibitor at a wedding fair? get GDPR savvy – Part 2 : GDPR your actions list

WOW – lots of people looked at our blog last week – did we touch a nerve? or time it right? maybe provide something really useful? We hope so… So last week we looked at some principles to remember when you are using personal data. This week it’s : GDPR your actions list.

What do you actually DO to make this work?

GDPR your actions list:

  • Before you attend

Is your website GDPR complaint? – Do you have a good privacy policy which is GDPR complaint and a ‘contact us’ page that allows the customer to opt in to receive information and offers from you with a clear consent box to tick (not pre populated….) to ensure that active and informed consent is given?

If you need help with this you could view our GDPR starter pack which includes template privacy policy and a guide to help you https://www.stanfordgould.co.uk/downloads/gdpr-starter/

  • At the event

How are you going to collect the data from these new customers/clients/contacts?

Collecting business cards, with telephone and email details?

Get them to sign a sheet which includes not only their contact details but a box to tick to opt in to receive your discounts, offers and emails or newsletters is ideal – can that work practically at the event you are going to? Can you offer an incentive to sign up? A prize draw? A discount code? Don’t make the prize too fabulous – you don’t want to be caught out by the Bribery Act, but a small gift or voucher is perfect, low value and an interesting relevant product.

Can you make this electronic? – Lots of exhibitors now use iPad and phones to get customers to part with their contact details – does this process include a clear consent box to tick or agree with options?

Do NOT have a long list on a clipboard so everyone can see everyone else’s details and information. Separate slips of paper, or customised postcards with sign up options to tick or complete, work well and most simply.

You need evidence of the consent for later if there is a question about whether they gave that consent and how from the client or the ICO ( the ‘data police’ for enforcement purposes…)

  • After the event

Once you get that box of cards or bag of reply slips home – how do you follow them up? Social media invites – should all be covered by the GDPR and privacy policies of the various social media platforms so probably you are OK to do this, without any additional consent. But make it worthwhile – a connection just to have more followers who are entirely disinterested in your business is pointless.

A short email – ‘thanks for meeting with us .. here’s our site, please sign up for your offers/news etc’ could be easily classed a legitimate business interest – NOTE: this means 1 email – not 10, when the first 9 are ignored.….

Do not be tempted to cc all your collected email address in one fell swoop later, thanking them for coming – we’ve seen it happen, honestly! This is a huge no-no. Even be careful with bcc’ing – it looks lazy – and is so easy to make a mistake – but probably complies with your GDPR obligations.

If they do come back and seek your services, you have a basis for processing. If they come back and consent to be on your mailing list, add them to the database if you hear nothing more – no follow up is really acceptable unless you can show a legitimate interest – document this!! Have proof if you are challenged that you have thought it through.

Next week we look at what happens after you get them on board…what’s the important stuff to batten down, once they are a client? If you need any help with this please do get in touch with us

Exhibitor at a wedding fair? Get GDPR savvy – Part 1

For the next three weeks we are going to be setting out some do’s and don’ts if you are planning to take part as an Exhibitor at a wedding fair this Spring.

Collecting personal data? You betcha!

You come to network, right? Collect cards and names? Possible customers? Possible suppliers? Investigate interesting quirky delivery from interesting quirky people, who you might not need or want daily, but you’ll hold on to that information, just in case…

Hopefully they do the same with your cards and business info. That’s why you signed up to be an Exhibitor at a wedding fair.

So what can you keep, what can you do with the stuff you collect –  personal data (see the link for that definition) but essentially email address, telephone numbers , information about your customers and contacts. You may also hold special category personal data ( see link for that definition) if you hold information about your customers sexual orientation or disability needs, for example. How is best kept and recorded? How do you ensure that you use it compliantly and within the limits of GDPR.

Remember there are 6 bases for lawfully processing personal data and the three most relevant for you are:

  • If you have a contract to delivering goods and services – so this covers anyone contacting you to enquire about your products or services, you can legitimately process their personal data ( that means email them, call them, write to them…) and tell them what you have and what you do, and the price! Consent is not relevant here. If they ask about what you do, you can tell them. What you cannot do is then automatically add them to a database and start sending them all sorts of offers, newsletters and other sales info which us generic and not specifically requested – UNLESS they have given consent. Which leads us nicely into….
  • Consent – here’s the reason why that tsunami of emails appeared in your inbox in the last week of May 2018….
  • Consent must be freely given and active – that means someone must do something to show consent – it cannot be assumed or implied. Tick a box, sign a form, press a button – but show that they have actively agreed to receive your information and link this to the relevant page of your website by asking them to view the terms of your privacy policy at the point that they give that consent.
  • Legitimate business interest: the catch-all provision. As long as you can say that your processing was for a legitimate business interest, you can process the data when you are not yet selling goods or service to the client and you do not have clear consent. BUT you must be able to justify this if challenged.

A good way to view this would be if you received a business card or a contact number whist at a network event and you followed this up with an email to introduce your business or a product – that’s probably justifiable as legitimate interest. Adding them to your database and sending them your regular monthly newsletter or special offers and discounts every time you have a sales push is definitely NOT legitimate interest. If you want to do that, your initial email needs to include an option for them to actively opt in to that receipt. If they don’t do this, you shouldn’t follow up. If you do, be prepared to have a very good reason to justify that action.

Next week we’ll be looking at your TO DO list as an Exhibitor before, during and after the wedding fair to ensure compliance and evidence gathering (or is that bottom covering….) or you can check out our other blogs on this topic here….https://www.stanfordgouldonline.co.uk/category/gdpr-for-wedding-suppliers/

Managing expectations- a painful lesson from real life.

Managing expectations – a lesson from real life.

This is me.

Pole axed. Crooked. Stuffed. Literally working with my hands tied (that’s my typing arm…)

It got me thinking this week about what I can actually do despite this challenge, what extra things I need to put in place, and, perhaps most relevant to this blog, – what do I tell my clients and make sure I am managing expectations?

I’ve figured out that I can do the work- it’s taking me longer and it’s frustrating me, but it can be done. I’ve roped in a teenage child on half term hols to type a few things, and a husband on his day off to drive me to see a client – it’s all in the collaborations and the planning! But I’ve also had to tell clients about the enforced go-slow and to shift some deadlines to make them comfortable to achieve. That means prioritising some jobs and proactively communicating with those who may have a slightly extended delivery.

There’s nothing more irritating in the life of a customer when you have instructed someone to do something – provide a service – or have ordered goods – to then be greeted with the wall of silence. No updates. No progress. No product! We all know a quick call to say – no news but I’m checking in – can be so important to managing those customer expectations.

Contracts – or Terms and Conditions – is another way of managing the clients’ expectations and demands. Setting out the rules before you start to play the game. No contract can ever be watertight – and beware of a lawyer who tells you any different! At least you have some structure, some rules, and some protection to ensure that what the customer thinks you are going to do is in fact what you are going to do. Sounds simple – right? Not always.

If you want a steer about managing your clients’ expectations – please do get in touch. My left-handed index finger typing speed is improving daily!

Wedding Stylist Hire Contracts – Legally Compliant Or Complacent?

Does your business have stylist hire contracts for props and decorative items for weddings and parties? Do you source bespoke requests, and style rooms and locations with yours, and others, fabulous ‘kit’? Do you know about wedding stylist hire contracts?

Vintage Stylist? Opulent backdrops? Fairy lights and lanterns? Themed gorgeousness? That’s you – right? What do you know about these?

Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

Trips off the tongue, doesn’t it? I’m sure you read them nightly as you drift off to sleep with classical music and cocoa…as obviously I do…

….and how they affect stylist hire contracts and cooling-off periods (no that’s not code for leaving this blog and getting an iced drink…read on.)

Wedding stylists and planners, if you are hiring kit to your customers, are your wedding stylist hire contracts complying with the regs?

The big take away from this blog today is cancellation periods and deposits. These regulations mean that any customer entering into a stylist hire contract must be able to cancel the contract and get their deposit back in full if they request to cancel and do so within 14 days of entering the contract. Whilst disappointing, and clearly potentially having an effect on cash flow for a small biz, usually this will not be an issue when providing the services and the hired goods, as customers generally book more than 2 weeks before the date for hire.

Think about why that’s relevant. So that you don’t rock up with the stuff and then find they have the contractual right to cancel…not an easy situation for anyone…

However – what happens in the last minute.com situation – panic hiring – how do you get around this? Well, we have a solution.

In addition to some decent T and Cs which reference the cancellation period required by the regulations, (you don’t have one? Get one here….) you can have a separate document – which complies with the regs – to waive this right. Your would-be last-ditch hirer can sign this to exclude the possibility of the deposit being refunded and the contract cancelled.

Interested in wedding stylist hire contracts? Contact us and we will help you get it right.

Wedding Photographer – photos lost without trace?

Wedding Photographer- Ever had that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when the delete button gets accidentally pressed, or the recycle bin just doesn’t have that file anywhere, and you’ve searched every hard drive in your office without success, and you finally realise that you’ve lost them, those wedding photographs – lost without trace. Forever.

These things really DO happen!

Last week I had a very panicky call from an existing client – an excellent wedding photographer who I know is the consummate professional and an amazing creative talent. About 18 months ago he was one of the first wedding photographers for whom I created some terms and conditions for his business.

He was stressing because something catastrophic had happened which was entirely out of his control, and he was, to put it mildly, in a pickle. An IT problem had meant that he has lost some of the photographs for a wedding client and they were irretrievable, despite his best efforts and an awful lot of time spent by his IT provider.

They were gone…into the ether…

Result?

Very worried photographer. Inconsolable bride. Cross groom. Very stressed IT chap…..but much LESS concerned professional indemnity insurer.

So why was that?

Because his Terms and Conditions limited his liability in this circumstance to a fixed amount well within his insurance cover. He knew that whatever the losses claimed by the couple, as a result of his ‘cock -up’, his insurer would cover them, and the couple would be financially compensated because his T and C’s would lawfully limit the claim.

Outcome?

Panicked photographer salved, very upset couple getting some sort of compensation for this loss, insurer happy to deal within the terms of the policy and …..

……..contract provider Stanford Gould feeling a little bit smug about getting it right in the T and C’s.

If you need your contracts reviewed and your liabilities restricted, check out the contract templates here and please take some advice from us. Its complex, but if you get it right, it could be a life saver.

Advice for wedding professionals: GDPR and your contracts. (No yawning allowed..)

GDPR and your contracts – now that tsunami of email from May last year is like a distant dream of your inbox following a desperate relationship breakdown, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate where you are at with GDPR, and take advice?

So, what should you have ticked off your operational to do list? And what’s GDPR got to go with your contracts?

Let’s assume for now that you do have a privacy policy on your website that is GDPR complaint.

Let’s also assume that your contact us page on your site gives customers the choices about what to receive and how to receive it – a clear opt-in to receive materials from you.

And let’s hope that you are no longer sending out marketing and prospecting emails to contacts who have not given some sort of consent – either under the old regime passively (that’s OK but you need to show how that was obtained….) or an actively opted in consent under the new rules. Here’s a helpful tool if you need more info, but I think enough has been said about that issue by GDPR experts…

So what else….

  • Your client contracts or Terms and Conditions now need to reference your privacy policy and to confirm how you are going to handle personal data that you hold. This can be a relatively simple signpost to the relevant page of your website on your contract or T and Cs. It’s what the ICO (the data police, for most purposes …) call layering. Reminding the consumer what you are collecting, why, and what you will do with data.
  • If you like to continue to follow up clients with birthday cards, anniversary cards or other communications, its worth adding that into your contracts too. Its HIGHLY unlikely that this represents a GDPR risk (using data without a basis for processing) but its ‘belt and braces’ and allows you to continue your relationship, and nurture possible referral and recommendation channels with your existing and past customers without risk.
  • Have you created a simple policy about data retention? How long are you going to keep materials about the jobs you do, and the people you work with – both practically (there is only so much space in your loft…) and from a legal perspective, you need to consider what’s essential and what’s disposable. Most lawyers will recommend that you keep materials about a job for a minimum period of 6 years because that’s the limitation date (how long someone has to start a claim in the court) for any claim alleging that you breached your contract for services or the supply of goods or were negligent. HMRC say you must keep tax records for 5 years so that’s likely to be where your accountant would pitch your destroy date options. Many photographers and videographers like to archive materials within 12mnths of the date (the files are huge, so storage space is an issue). Whatever you do – and take some advice – please have a policy.
  • General office tidying up should be maintained. Locked cabinets, no personal data on white boards, clear desk, securely kept and regularly changed PC passwords, not taking unnecessary data off site, good general security. Obvious stuff that ensures data is safe and protected.

Our templates for wedding professionals client contracts deal with GDPR clauses as well as other essential issues, so if you have purchased one, you are good to go! If you need some advice – email us and we can help.

Wedding Stationers Legal Advice : What happens if a client cancels?

Wedding Stationers: Creating personalised stationery and print? what do you need to know about cancellations?

You can create the most beautiful personalised stationery and print: themed and illustrated table plans, thank you cards for every occasion, invites that extract ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from their recipients, but are you clear about what happens if your client changes their mind?

If you create bespoke personalised stationary and print in the wedding industry are you clear about the rights of your customers to cancel their order once placed? Is there any right to cancel? And if so, how does affect your business?

Most of your customers will be consumers and thus have certain rights to cancel a contract for goods or services, within some time limits. However, if they are purchasing personalised goods, then this right is significantly curtailed, and only if the goods are faulty does a right to cancel then arise. Your contract should be clear about this and inform your customer of this more limited right to cancel personalised bespoke printing orders.

Clearly this is because there’s not a lot you can do with a set of personalised printing, save wait and see if another ‘Ethel and Kevin’ decide they are getting hitched and really like that unicorn design you have presented….

Be careful if you also offer non-personalised items, such as invitations and place cards for the couples to write out themselves, as they will still be capable of cancellation in some circumstances – in particular if they have purchased on line or ‘at distance’. The time periods are tight and other obligations need to be satisfied but there is a difference.

Do your T and C’s cover this situation? Our templates do….

Contact us for more advice if you are in a dilemma about your rights and those of your customers…

Wedding stylist – are you protected?

This week we are looking at the wedding stylist – you design buffs, creative folk with all that gorgeous kit that you provide to make the venues and party rooms and marques so fabulously exquisite. You may be a relatively new wedding stylist building up your stock of props and items, or maybe you have a storage space full of vintage, retro, themed gorgeousness, which range from light up flamingos, candle lanterns, fake plants and trees, table decorations and furniture, or every sort of fairy light on the planet. Whatever your style as a wedding stylist, that’s a lot of kit with a lot of value – are you making sure you have protected it? In this respect, your contract is your best friend.

First and foremost – insurance. Have you really valued what you have (and I mean counted it, catalogued it and added it up!)  and secured adequate cover both for its storage and its transportation? This is the very life blood of your business so please make sure you are properly covered. You can email us if you need an introduction to an excellent insurance broker that we work with.

Top quick tips: Make sure your policy is robust, covers you in a business context, and for off-site damage.

Secondly, do your terms and conditions make it clear that once in the possession of your clients, the risk is theirs? Do they take insurance? Do you request a damage deposit and how do you deal with that? Paid to a separate bank account? All thorny issues to ensure that the risk of damage is hopefully covered in all circumstances.

Top quick tips : do they specify when the risk passes to your clients? Do they tell the client the total hire period you have agreed? Do they deal with the legal requirements for cancellation periods? These are strict, and the hire contract could be unenforceable in total if they are not right.

It’s a pretty risky business leaving your business stock in the care of others for use and abuse so make sure you have robust terms that make the obligations and liabilities clear in the event of damage, loss or dispute.

You can get our template terms for stylists which deal with all these issues here.