Your website is often the main place your customers look to for information about your business. It’s also one of your key marketing assets.
Both online and offline businesses use their websites to share key messages to customers and promote their brand. It’s a place to showcase things like your brand values, the products you sell, the services you offer, your contact details, your opening hours, and more.
With so many opportunities to customise your marketing message to potential customers, you certainly want to make sure the copy on your website is painting your brand in the best possible light.
But are there any legal considerations around what you can say on your website?
The short answer is yes. There are several laws governing what you can and can’t say on your website.
Here, we’ll guide you through the key legal considerations you’ll need to be aware of when you’re writing copy on your website.
The Australian Consumer Law
The main law to be aware of when you’re writing copy on your website is the Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’).
The ACL is designed to protect the everyday customer. This is usually someone who doesn’t have the capacity to check that every statement they see in an advertisement – or on a business’ website – is true.
That’s why the law exists — to put standards on businesses to do the right thing for consumers.
Misleading And Deceptive Conduct
Section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law prohibits a person, in trade or commerce, from engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct.
What does this actually mean, though?
There are many legal cases and guidelines that address misleading and deceptive conduct, but common sense is often a good guiding principle. If the average person would be misled or deceived by something you do or say, then it is probably ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’.
One of the biggest legal risks for businesses in this space is making exaggerated claims about the products or services they offer on their website. But, even if you omit to say something, it could still be considered misleading and deceptive.
For more information about avoiding misleading and deceptive conduct, check out this article.
Some industries have specific rules around advertising and packaging, such as health products. These are often governed by the ‘Therapeutic Goods Administration’ (‘TGA’) and require additional legal considerations.
Can A Lawyer Review My Website?
Yes! A lawyer can review your website, and it’s often a smart idea to get this done.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is known for taking action against breaches of the ACL, and the consequences can be devastating for businesses.
Instead of taking that risk, you should get an expert legal opinion on your website. That way, you can make sure that you’re not crossing the threshold between good promotional copy and misleading and deceptive conduct.
What’s Involved In A Website Copy Review?
It’s pretty straightforward to get a lawyer’s opinion on your website copy. The lawyer will read through your site and flag any phrases, images or other website elements that could pose legal risks for your business. They can advise on alternatives and ways to reduce the risk.
It’s a simple process that can give you peace of mind without limiting your marketing opportunities.
It’s then up to you to take on board these recommendations and update your website.
Need Help With A Website Copy Review?
Making sure your website complies with consumer law and other legal regulations is tricky. It can be hard to come to a decision when it’s often a grey area.
It’s a good idea to invest in a lawyer to assist you with this process, as this one-off cost can save you from problems and headaches in the long run, as well as allowing you to build trust with your customers.
At Sprintlaw, we have a team of experienced lawyers who can assist with your Website Copy Review and other legals your business may need help with. Get in contact with one of our consultants for a no-obligation chat about how we can assist you.
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