How to organize a public offer agreement? Why can this be of interest to business during the quarantine period?

During quarantine business needs new solutions in order to stay afloat and maintain, or even increase, its profitability.

To this end, many people are moving their business online. If you have chosen this path, you have probably asked yourself the question about the need to place a public offer on the website to sell without an agreement on paper.

How to make such a public offer agreement and what shall it specify? Let’s talk about it in more detail.

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What is a public offer and why should it be published on your website?

The public offer is an offer, a call to action for your consumer.

It describes all the terms and conditions of sale, whether it is a product or service, and it is the document that will be used in case of any disagreement with the buyer/customer. This is actually its key importance: without a public offer, you will have to be guided by the law only (which often takes the customer’s side). 

Thus, for example, in case of failure to stipulate the warranty period, you can receive claims from buyers about hidden defects for years. And in this case, the buyer will be right.

Moreover, when selling goods or services online, the absence of such a public offer on the website is illegal and may result in fines for non-compliance with consumer rights. However, the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection can still conduct the inspection, even if you have a public offer, but it does not meet the requirements of the law, that is, all mandatory points described below.

You might think that if you do not sell directly through the website, you have nothing to worry about. But this is not true: as practice shows, if you have a product on your site, with its characteristics described or price specified - the control authorities may also consider this as a public offer. And what will the regulatory authorities do in case of detection of an improperly drafted public offer? That’s right - they will fine you.

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What are the main things one should take into account when drawing up a public offer

Proceeding from the above, in order to avoid unpleasant situations, we advise to take into account the following key factors when drawing up a public offer:

  • Information about the product must be complete and reliable, as well as supported by sufficient documentary evidence;
  • Specify information about the terms of delivery and return of the goods, as well as do not forget about the order and period of replacement of the goods, or elimination of defects of the goods/services;
  • Do not forget about the cost and order of payment for the goods or service.

Remember that the terms and conditions of the public offer should not contradict the law.

These are the minimum requirements that the law imposes on businesses.

But if you want to be the gainer, here are some more tips:

  • Specify the warranty terms. Remember that some groups of products require clearly established warranty period. Small lifehack - if you purchase the goods from the manufacturer for the further resale - check warranty obligations of the manufacturer and specify the same warranty provisions for the consumer. This will allow you to eliminate risks in most cases (except for those cases, when the goods require minimum statutory warranty period and thus the difference between the date of purchase and the date of sale to the consumer does not allow to observe it);
  • Think over and specify the forms of acceptance of the public offer by the consumer. This may be purchasing order on the website, manager call, e-mail, acknowledgement by clicking “I have read and accept the above terms and conditions” - you may choose any form that is more convenient for you. Of course, for good measure, you can agree on the terms and conditions of the agreement by signing it with the electronic digital signature keys. But if your business model is B2C, it’s worth remembering that only a small number of people have signing keys;
  • Reserve the right to change the provisions of the public offer by publishing a new version of the agreement on the website. And if you do not want to change the terms and conditions for each consumer in the future, do not forget to specify that such a public offer is an accession agreement. This means that if the consumer decides to purchase goods/services from you, he/she must accept your terms and conditions. In this case, remember that if you, for some reasons, still need to conclude an individual agreement (for example, the importance of the client exceeds the need to standardize the terms and conditions of the agreement) - it will not prevent you from concluding a separate agreement with such a client;
  • If the Terms of Use on your website provide for the registration of a user, requiring to enter their personal data (e.g. telephone, mail, name), or if you collect the personal data of a potential client, secure yourself with a provision on the use of personal data, or make a separate provision on the website (which will be even more forward-thinking as not all website visitors will accept your public offer). This will allow you to protect yourself from claims, if your company’s policy provide for collecting product feedback, sending out promotional offers and so on. 

Remember that your public offer will directly affect your chances of defending your interests in the future.

If you need assistance with drawing up a public offer for your online business, don’t hesitate to call us.

Publication date: 14/04/2020

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