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If you run or are planning to run a business that sells skincare products online, you will need to have the correct legal documents in place for your website. Depending on the platform you choose to sell your products through, you will need to ensure that you have a:

  • website terms of use;
  • privacy policy; and
  • sales terms and conditions.

This article will explain what these documents are and how they affect your online skincare business.

What are Therapeutic Goods and Cosmetics?

You should know the classification of your skincare products so you can meet your legal obligations. There are requirements you must meet if you work with cosmetic or therapeutic goods in Australia, for example, as a:

  • manufacturer;
  • exporter;
  • importer; or
  • retailer.

This is because the law and policy regulate cosmetic and therapeutic goods in Australia.

A therapeutic good is a product that:

  • prevents, diagnoses or treats diseases; or
  • affects the structure or functions of the human body.

A cosmetic product is a substance or preparation that is put in contact with the human body for a specified purpose. This could be for cleaning or changing the smell or appearance of the body. Cosmetics may be natural or artificial.

For example, a therapeutic good could be vitamin pills, whereas a cosmetic product could be perfume.

Terms of Use

Your website terms of use set out how users can interact with your website. It applies to any person that visits your site, so it applies to both your customers and to your visitors. It should be easily accessible.

Your terms of use aim to protect your intellectual property and any other information on your website. It explains to the visitor that they cannot copy the content and material on your website and publish it elsewhere without your permission.

There would also be terms limiting your legal responsibility for any implied promises, statements and opinions you make on your website or that are made on third-party websites.

Implied means that the promises, statements and opinions are not expressly or clearly stated on your website, but can be implied from the context.

This may be of relevance to you given the nature of claims regarding the benefits and risks of cosmetic and therapeutic goods to individuals who use your products.

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is a document in place between your business and each person from whom you collect personal information. It sets out, amongst other things:

  • what personal information (including sensitive information) your business collects;
  • how personal information is used; and
  • the circumstances under which the personal information will be disclosed to third parties.

The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) require all APP entities (including private and not for profit organisations) with an annual turnover of more than $3 million to have a privacy policy. This means that if your business is an APP entity, you must have a privacy policy. However, even if you are not an APP entity, it is still a good idea to have one in place. This is because it clearly explains to those who engage with or purchase from your website:

  • what personal information you intend to collect;
  • how you intend to collect it;
  • how you will use the information; and
  • whether you will disclose the information to any third parties.

Sales Terms and Conditions

If you advertise your own products for sale (as opposed to running a marketplace), you need to set out the terms and conditions of your relationship with your customers.

A marketplace is a platform where third parties can promote and sell their goods and services to buyers, for example, Uber and Airbnb.

Your sales terms and conditions is arguably the most important document you need to protect your business. Your sales terms and conditions should include clauses that cover things like:

  • how you collect payment and deliver the goods;
  • whether the price of the goods includes delivery;
  • how a customer may cancel or terminate their order;
  • the scope of your returns and refund policy;
  • your dispute resolution procedure; and
  • the limit of your legal responsibility under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

When drafting your terms and conditions, you will need to think about how you expect your potential customers will interact with you. You also need to consider how they will accept your terms and conditions. One option for you may be to allow customers to accept your terms and conditions by using a click and accept function displayed at checkout. You may also want to send the terms via email to the customer.

Key Takeaways

When running or starting an online skincare business, your terms of use, privacy policy and sales terms and conditions are important documents to have in place. This is because all these documents play an important role in protecting your business. If you have any questions about drafting these documents, get in touch with LegalVision’s e-commerce lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.


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