Know Your Rights – As A Customer And A Business Owner
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Know Your Rights
As business owners, we are always striving to provide the best product or service we can to our customers. And we would like to think that all of our customers are delighted with what we provide and that nothing will ever go wrong. Sadly, we all know this isn’t always the case, and bad relationships or interactions do happen. And when they do, it’s important to understand your rights and obligations as a business owner, and what your customers right are as well.
As A Business Owner
As a business owner, you have the right to run your business in any manner you see fit, providing you are not in violation of any laws. This gives you an awful lot of freedoms, but you do need to remember not to tread on any other statutory rights along the way. For example – you have right to expect the best performance from employees or customers. So provided you have documented your expectations from them and made these clear, you have the right to terminate your relationship with them if performance is not satisfactory.
Similarly, you have the right to refuse service to any customer – but you should be careful that you don’t come across as discriminatory. For example, you can’t refuse to bake a wedding cake just because the couple receiving it is gay – that’s really bad. But you can refuse to work with someone if they have failed to pay your invoices for previous work.
You also have the right to make changes to your business, such as structural or pricing changes, and the right to express your opinion on a wide variety of topics. However, you do need to be careful that you aren’t forcing those views on other people or engaging in inappropriate workplace conversations. Do you see where we’re going with this?
While these might be legal rights, there are also some things you can only enforce if your customer has agreed to them in the first place. Elements like payment schedules and copyright for work created can all be decided by you as a business owner, but unless you have a way of showcasing these to your customer, you don’t have a leg to stand on.
As A Customer
As a customer, you are covered by the consumer rights act, which protects you when you buy goods or services. The basic rules set out under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 mean you can seek governmental help and support when dealing with:
- Credit and store cards
- Faulty goods
- Counterfeit goods
- Poor service
- Problems with contracts
- Problems with builders
- Rogue traders
If you’re ever not sure on what your customer rights are, here’s a helpful little guide we found that explains it all. Of course, there are slightly different rules depending on whether you are buying goods or services. For goods bought, they must be of ‘satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time.’ With services, the act states that any service should be carried out ‘with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time, at a reasonable price’. This is fairly straightforward and easy to identify if something is not to your satisfaction but sometimes hard to prove in a court of law. Always be very detailed in your communication for services required. Put it in writing and get confirmation from the supplier.
When we live in such a transactional world, it’s important to know your rights. As a business owner, you need to understand what your rights are when providing goods or services, and as a customer you need to know that you are going to be taken care of and not left out of pocket.
If, as a business owner you don’t have any policies and documents in place to tackle this, you could end up in a rather sticky spot. For more information, or to chat with one of our expert members on the subject, just get in touch and 10-12 will point you in the right direction!