Cha-ching in the holidays at your business

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Your customers are counting down the days before the holiday shopping season begins.  As your staff prepares for the retail onslaught, the FTC has tips to help ensure that Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t followed by Consumer Complaint Tuesday and Law Enforcement Wednesday.

As seen on the small screen.  We’ll go out on a limb and predict this will be the biggest shopping season ever for purchases made on mobile devices.  (OK, that wasn’t much of a limb.)  What’s that mean for your business?  Make sure key information is disclosed clearly and conspicuously regardless of how prospective shoppers access your site.  The FTC staff guide, .com Disclosures:  How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising, supplements core compliance concepts with practical how-to advice about disclosing the details on a smaller screen.

Shape up and ship out.  Here’s hoping you’re the #1 purveyor of this year’s Gotta Have It Gizmo.  Just make sure to honor your shipping and delivery promises.  Express claims like “Get it by December 20th!” have to be backed up by more than wishful holiday thinking.  Furthermore, it’s a mistake for businesses to assume they can sidestep the issue by staying silent about when they’ll ship.  Under the FTC’s Mail Order Rule, if you don’t state a particular time, you need to have a reasonable basis that you can ship within 30 days.  Read A Business Guide to the FTC’s Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule to find out more.

One good return deserves another.  For companies that put a premium on customer service, the holiday season is the time to shine.  To transform a year-end buyer into a year-round customer, be clear up front about your refund and exchange policies.  Want to turn a gift recipient into a life-long loyalist?  Handle adjustments gracefully.

Do not open ‘til . . . Unfortunately, ID thieves and data crooks never settle down for a long winter’s nap.  As your check-out counter starts to look like Grand Central, remind your staff to be extra careful when dealing with customers’ credit cards and other confidential data.  If you’ve hired temporary help, convey your data security expectations to them, too.  Looking for to-the-point guidance?  The FTC has resources for businesses of any size.


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