Legal tips for running a promotion in Australia

By Vivian Michael | Startup Contracts

Legal tips for running a promotion in Australia

Photo by John Jackson on Unsplash

If you are running or even considering running a promotion in Australia, I have some useful tips to share with you. 

These are the key tips. As always, get advice if you’re in doubt.

In a rush? jump ahead.

Be clear about your offering

Here are some 5 ways you can be clear about your offering: 

1. Describe

Describe what’s included in the promotion upfront - don’t leave any room for doubt. 

2. Exclude

​If something’s excluded - say so (make it really clear especially if you have similar product range names like Pro x, Pro xx, Pro IV), you get the idea.

3. Time frame

Give a time frame for the promotion. If you are looking to drive sales before the end of a financial year, then you might want to use an expiry date before then.

4. Simultaneous offers

Remove any doubt about whether 2 offerings can run at once - especially important if you have a % off and then another offer for buy x and get y free. 

To cover for pricing errors, make sure that you either have a pricing policy or generic website terms and conditions with the statements below.

You acknowledge that despite our reasonable precautions, our products or services may be listed at an incorrect price or with incorrect information due to a typographical error or other oversight.

In these circumstances, we reserve the right to cancel the transaction, even though your purchase may have been confirmed and your bank card has been charged.

If a cancellation of this nature occurs after your bank card has been charged for the purchase, we will immediately issue a credit to your bank account for the amount in question.

5. Cancellation

You should notify customers that the offer may be cancelled at any time at your discretion.

Now, those tips are the big 5 to reduce your risks, and while you may need many other clarifications about your offering(s), if you cover these at a minimum, you’re on the right track.

So what do these tips look like on a real-life example?

During StartCon we run some offers for startups, here’s what the back of one of our StartCon offers looks like:

Legal tips for Australian promotions

Simple right? We could have set other parameters, but in this case, the offer was for a gift voucher, offered at a conference and we like to keep things simple.

Balance

You want to balance protection for your business against keeping things simple for your customers. Always keep the customer in mind. You can be kind to your customers by being clear, concise and fair.

Finally, keep in mind these general consumer law tips below.

Consumer law tips

Make sure that whatever you’re selling:

  • is good quality;
  • matches the descriptions on your landing pages, website or print materials or labels;
  • matches any sample or demonstration models;
  • comes with full title and ownership;
  • meet any extra promises about performance, condition and quality; and
  • has spare parts and repair facilities available for a reasonable time after purchase.
Services

And, if you are selling services, you need to gaurantee the services are:

  • Provided with care, skill and technical knowledge
  • Fit for the purpose and/or intended results
  • Delivered within a reasonable time (when there’s no agreed end date).

So, you have some responsibilities and if you don’t meet consumer guarantees, you may need to:

  • Provide a repair, replacement or refund
  • Cancel the service or
  • Provide compensation for damages or loss to the customer.  

Bonus tips

Before the checkout

Make sure your customers have access to your policies before they get to the checkout whether that’s online or paying your business account via direct debit.

The checkbox is a terrific before or at the checkout stage because it's a positive step that your customer needs to take to progress the sale.

E.g. You agree to our terms and conditions and xxx policy before making this purchase on our website.

Returns and disputes

Finally, don’t argue with customers because it makes things worse. Assure the customer you’ll look into their query and give a realistic time frame that you can keep.

Also, if you have a policy then point your customer to the policy if there’s a process that you’ve already explained.  


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About the Author

Vivian Michael is a lawyer and founder of Michael Law Group. Vivian's mission is to make quality business legal services accessible to Australian businesses that would otherwise DIY, rely on legacy contracts or go without.

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