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Legal aspects of marketing activities – clauses prohibited in contracts

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Effective marketing activities are something every business desires. Due to their importance for their development, however, one can often encounter various types of abuses in this area. They are often committed unconsciously. Immoral and unlawful marketing can only produce negative results in the long run. Not only in the form of loss of long-built customer trust, but also legal consequences. Therefore, every specialist should know what actions and clauses should be avoided in marketing contracts. 

Unlawful e-commerce clauses

A huge part of the current market are online stores, classifieds websites, auction portals, and other online activities. The e-commerce sector is developing rapidly and, as is often the case in such cases, it is also exposed to legal abuse. Whether it is out of ill will or ignorance. So what should you avoid and what to pay attention to when conducting this type of activity, so that it complies with the applicable regulations and does not abuse the trust of customers? 

These issues are regulated by consumer law. Legal actions in e-commerce are related to concluding immoral contracts with consumers or violating their personal rights. The Civil Code (specifically Art. 385 [3]) contains exemplary abusive contract clauses. Having these kinds of provisions in your regulations may result in bringing a legitimate action. Importantly, the regulations must be precise and should not have a structure that allows them to be subject to ambiguous interpretations – because it works to the disadvantage of the store in the event of legal proceedings. 

Examples and the most frequently used abuses in online commerce are related to the provisions regarding the implementation of orders and their complaints. It is illegal to provide that a claim for damaged equipment can only be accepted if the defect has been discovered and certified in the presence of the courier delivering the parcel. Similarly, clauses that charge the buyer with the shipping cost of the advertised goods or those that inform that the store waives responsibility for the non-compliance of the goods with the description on the website are prohibited.

Consumers are also protected against provisions regarding changes to the regulations to their detriment. For example, when these come into force at the moment of publication, they do not allow time to read their content. 

Therefore, when managing your e-commerce activity, you must be aware that such entries will not benefit your company, but on the contrary, may contribute to the deterioration of its condition. Not only in the legal context, but also in terms of image.

Legal aspects of marketing activities - clauses prohibited in contracts

Agreements with marketing and SEO agencies

How is it when concluding contracts with agencies dealing with marketing and SEO? What to pay attention to in order to avoid abuse and the related unpleasant consequences? When signing a contract for positioning your website, first of all, you should settle issues related to unacceptable practices that are prohibited by Google. We are talking about techniques known collectively as Black Hat SEO. 

It is worth making sure that this provision is quite precise and lists specific practices, so that there is no doubt about the interpretation in case of their use. Especially that many acceptable and unacceptable practices are similar on many issues and it is difficult to distinguish them by a person who does not know even the basics of SEO. A reasonable solution is that the issues of non-compliance should be contractually provided for a financial penalty, because the use of BHS techniques and their detection by Google means losses for the company. If Google detects this (it will happen sooner or later, because Google algorithms are constantly developed in terms of their detection), the website is filtered or completely removed from search results, which means a deterioration of its reach and a real threat to its profits. . 

Importantly, the use of unacceptable positioning techniques has no legal consequences, however, it violates the internal standards of the community and thus exposes the company to negative effects and the destruction of all results achieved so far. 

Legal aspects of marketing activities - clauses prohibited in contracts

Where to find legal aid for online marketing?

The number of regulations in the field of consumer rights protection and online marketing can be overwhelming for a person who is not exposed to the law on a daily basis. If you are not sure whether your online marketing and the law work in accordance with each other, or you have doubts about the provisions of the contract with an advertising agency, consult a law firm specializing in this. 

Today, many attorney and consulting firms specialize in marketing law, including online marketing. Consulting with them will give you confidence that marketing campaigns and other practices used by your company or the company with which you want to conclude a contract are legal and do not pose a threat to you. They will also allow you to prove your rights if you have fallen victim to dishonest online marketing.

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