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eCommerce regulations span across technology, business and consumer law, so running this type of business online can be tricky territory to navigate from a legal viewpoint.
In this guide, we cover how the key points of how eCommerce lawyers work, when to use one and where to get helpful legal services and documents online.
What's in this guide?
- What does an eCommerce lawyer do?
- When should I use an eCommerce lawyer?
- Compare online legal services
- eCommerce lawyers vs commercial lawyers
- What services does an eCommerce lawyer offer?
- How effective is an eCommerce lawyer?
- Do I need an eCommerce lawyer?
- 3 quick points to consider when hiring an eCommerce lawyer
- More on where to find legal documents and free quotes online
What does an eCommerce lawyer do?
An eCommerce lawyer specialises in eCommerce law and typically has extensive knowledge in fields of consumer, technology and privacy law.
One of the main services offered by an eCommerce lawyer is to reduce a business' legal liability and protect its rights when trading goods and services on the web. They can offer advice on a range of legal facets of running a business online and keep up to date on eCommerce legislation, helping to make sure your business operations are compliant with Australian consumer law.
When should I use an eCommerce lawyer?
An eCommerce lawyer can be used at any stage of your eCommerce business, whether you are just starting out, are already operating or want to expand your horizons.
This type of lawyer can usually assist with:
- Drafting legally binding documents and notices for your business, website, app or marketplace
- Legalities around payment and compliance
- Intellectual property (IP) and privacy law compliance
- Supply agreements
- The resolution of disputes.
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eCommerce lawyers vs commercial lawyers
The roles and responsibilities of eCommerce and commercial lawyers are quite similar, but one of the key differences is around the clients they serve.
A commercial lawyer oversees the financial and legal aspects of running a traditional business. This includes anything that occurs during the commercial cycle, from financing the business to the sales of goods and services.
eCommerce lawyers work specifically with eCommerce businesses and individuals who buy and sell things over the Internet. They reduce the legal risks of trading online by ensuring your business is legally compliant and can help with drawing up necessary documents.
What services does an eCommerce lawyer offer?
An eCommerce lawyer may offer a wide range of services that span across consumer, technology and privacy law. You may enlist their legal support for:
Setting up your online business
- Drafting terms and conditions for your business, website, app or store
- Registering a domain name.
Trading goods or services online
- Making sure your business operations are compliant with Australian consumer law.
- Drafting agreements for mobile payments and compliance.
- Protecting your intellectual property by drafting legal documents or pursuing litigation.
- Advising on supply agreements.
- Resolving disputes around cybersquatting, domain name complaints and online defamation.
How effective is an eCommerce lawyer?
eCommerce is evolving at such a rapid rate that businesses can find it hard to navigate the legal minefield around trading goods and services online.
Enlisting the help of an eCommerce lawyer can give you peace of mind that your business is compliant with the multitude of technology, consumer and privacy laws that govern eCommerce businesses. What's more, you can use the services of an eCommerce lawyer throughout all stages of your eCommerce business.
Do I need an eCommerce lawyer?
That's up to you to decide. You may feel it depends on the specific legal issue you are facing. If you're in the initial stages of setting up an online business, you may be able to do some of the legal legwork yourself. However, for more complex legal situations, an eCommerce lawyer may be best placed to give advice and draft up documents such as wholesale, supply or consignment agreements.
3 quick points to consider when hiring an eCommerce lawyer
- Experience. You'll want to find a lawyer with the right mix of experience in consumer, technology and privacy law. They should be fluent in current eCommerce legislation and (ideally) have some working knowledge around the type of business you are running.
- Cost. Find out whether your lawyer bills by the hour or on a fixed-fee basis. If you're a start-up or small business, it may be a good idea to find a lawyer that will charge you a fixed-fee or per-project as this can simplify the budgeting of your legal costs.
- Contact hours. How open is your lawyer to being contacted? What's the amount of time it'll take for them to respond to queries? Do they have set contact hours? These are all important questions to ask depending on what legal issue you have. For example, if you are involved in the process of defamation, you may want a particularly responsive lawyer.
More on where to find legal documents and free quotes online
- LegalVision. Access a fixed-price quote for an eCommerce lawyer within two hours. Or get unlimited lawyer consultations and access to a legal document database for $199 per month.
- Lawpath. Get a fixed-price quote from a lawyer in your locality. Lawpath has an extensive database with over 300 legal documents and your first template is free upon sign up.
- Sprintlaw. Its lawyers offer fixed-fee pricing for their services with a typical turnaround of 5-10 working days. You can also get unlimited phone consults with lawyers, and free updates to any documents they prepare for you for $799 per year.
You can also find customisable templates online that can be useful depending on your needs. Examples of templates to look out for include:
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