WHAT IS ELECTRONIC COMMERCE?
As an AMWAY Independent Business Owner (IBO) you may find yourself engaging in ‘electronic commerce’. Electronic commerce, also known as e-commerce, is the purchase and retailing of goods and services over an electronic platform. This is most commonly done via the internet.
Although IBOs are prohibited from retailing AMWAY products and/or services in online retail environments such as eBay and Gumtree, the IBO may make a point of sale through a private and personalised website or social media site (please see the ‘Using the Web and Social Media’ guide for more information).
AM I LEGALLY BOUND WHEN I MAKE A SALE OR PURCHASE ONLINE?
Whether you realise it or not, making a sale or purchase over the internet means you are entering into an enforceable and binding contract with the other party. There are strict conditions on who you can enter into this type of agreement with, such as the other party must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind.
While there is no general requirement for contracts to be written (except contracts dealing with land), it is always best to have a written and signed agreement in order to avoid potential problems. For example, in circumstances where one party disputes a particular term of an unwritten contract, it can often be problematic in proving the details of what was agreed to by both parties.
Under the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (Cth) (ETA), Commonwealth legislation enables a person, generally speaking, to rely on electronic communications as a way of satisfying a number of legal contractual obligations, including the requirement to; provide a signature; produce a document; record information; provide written information; and retain a document.
Each State and Territory has its own legislation detailing the particulars of each of the above criteria. For example, the Commonwealth legislation enables a person to in general to rely on electronic signatures, and the NSW law will detail the specifics.
It is important whenever you make a sale or purchase of goods over the internet that you retain all the relevant documents and comply with the applicable law. It is up to you, as the business owner, to ensure that you understand what is required of you as per your relevant jurisdiction and that you comply with all State and Commonwealth laws.
If in doubt, contact Amway’s Legal Department on (02) 9854 8100 or send an email to ANZ-Legal@amway.com.
*DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is not comprehensive and is only a summary of the important provisions concerning e-commerce transactions. More detailed information can be found at the Office of the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department website located at www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/ECommerce/Pages/default.aspx. Alternatively, please consult your legal practitioner regarding the e-commerce requirements for your Independent Business.