Startup business consumer issues are not usually raised in discussions at the outset by entrepreneurs. Consumer protection issues creep up as time goes by in their daily business process. But the reality bites, when startups encounter issues not thought through.
If the startup is engaged in a business entails a contract or a detailed proposal for approval, the startups will find the need to spell out terms. It is important that the startup detail what the service will entail, what process is unique to the customer’s selection, and description of materials including itemized cost. This may be a mundane nuance, but, it is common for disputes to arise because of misunderstandings in the deal, during the delivery of service, and of course, after when it’s time to pay.
Even if the startup business does not involve a business that entail a prolong service, but let’s say, a sale item on the Internet, there must be terms spelled out for the consumer to be aware of before that magical plastic to pay is triggered for the purchase. Startups must be away of the need for their items to be described accordingly to eliminate potential fraud by misrepresenting the item. Startups must be truthful about the condition of the product, i.e., brand new in box (unopened), new unused box open, slightly used, and so on. Photos of the items are extremely helpful to build confidence on the sale and build reputation.
Startup business handling and shipping of the items must also be high on the list. Startups should not over promise on delivery time. Startups should not exaggerate the shipping price. This becomes a hidden profit and could be deemed deceptive. Startups that under price a product and over charge on shipping should be careful. Deceptive business practices gives an an unacceptable image to a business that is hard to recover from.
Startups marketing aspect of its venture starts with the website if not preceded by distributed flyers locally. With the broad appeal of a website, startups need to be concerned with interstate sales of its products. What may not be required in one state could be in another. Startups should not rely on what others are doing. The new startup may not know if the previously existing company has been noticed by a consumer protection entity seeking the business remedy an incident. That incident could be a copyright infringement, a trademark infringement, a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notice, or a notice from the state’s attorney general’s office.
Startup consumer protection issues are important to be addressed by the startup to avoid future problems. Surprises do happen in business. Consumers are many and their interests are always important for the success of a startup. Any shortsighted decision without conidering the ramifications on consumer trust and satisfaction will be a detriment to any startup business.