Odyssey bloghelping you leverage the potential of the internet

What is the Telephone Preference Service?


12. January 2010 19:41

A telephone

In the UK it is unlawful to place a direct marketing call to an individual or organisation who has objected, either directly a company or with the central registration scheme - the TPS or CTPS.

The Telephone Preference Service enables individuals or organisations in the United Kingdom to register their objection to receiving direct marketing calls with a central service.

Telemarketing companies are able to receive a list of numbers that have been registered by subscribing to the TPS and or CTPS.

The regulations require that companies comply with an individual's request for suppression made to the central registration scheme within 28 days.

Who needs to comply with the regulations?

All businesses including charities and voluntary organisations who make direct marketing calls to both 'cold' lists and customer lists should be screened against the TPS data before telephone calls are made to ensure they comply with the regulations.

Does TPS apply to customers of a business?

The regulations cover all telephone calls whether they are customers or non-customers. If a customer has registered with TPS you can only call them if they have indicated that they do not object to you calling them.

What are the consequences of calling a number registered with the TPS/CTPS?

Should a subscriber registered with the TPS make a complaint about unsolicited direct marketing telephone calls from a business or other organisation, the Telephone Preference Service Limited (TPSL) will investigate the circumstances in which the call was made. A record of the complaint will be sent to the Information Commissioner's Office, who are responsible for enforcing the regulations.

A TPS subscriber can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office directly to complain about an unsolicited direct marketing Telephone call which they have received.

How do I get the TPS/CTPS suppression list?

A number of options are available such as list cleaning services, call barring services along with services aimed at helping small companies comply with the regulations.
Visit the TPS website for further details www.TPSonline.org.uk

Picture used under Creative Commons from macinate

Domain Name Dilemma


27. October 2009 18:43

There’s an interesting piece of advice in the November 2009 issue of .NET magazine concerning choosing unique domain names.

A reader wrote in to the Expert Advice column explaining that he had bought a .co.uk domain and the equivalent .tv and .mobi variants for a website he was about to set-up.  However after purchasing the domains the reader stumbled across the .net version of the domain which was already an existing website owned by someone else and providing very similar content to what the reader had planned for his site.

The reader wanted to know if it was best to continue developing his site or think of another domain name that was unique.

The advice given by .NET magazine’s legal expert Struan Robertson was:

“I’d urge you to pick a different name.  That’s partly because a complaint from the established site is foreseeable.”

Struan mentions that keeping the name would cause “confusion in the marketplace, by “harming their goodwill”

“It’s generally in you’re best interests to avoid this type of battle”

Struan goes on to advise:

“Pick a new name that lets you establish your own brand identity from the start.”  “Even if you were to win [a dispute] in the end, such a dispute would cost you far, far more than a few domain names.”

Tags: ,

Category: Domain Names | Legalities

Displaying Business Contact Details on your Website


25. October 2009 22:13

Providing details about your business gives visitors to your website confidence that they are dealing with a legitimate company, it is also required by UK law.  The absence of such information will generally arouse suspicion and most probably affect the potential of your website to drive sales.

Whether you are trading as a sole trader, partnership or limited company you need to display certain information about your company on your website.

You are required to show the full name of the company, registered number, registered office address, email address, VAT number if applicable and the place of registration.

If you are a sole trader or partnership you are required to display your name and partners’ names and business addresses in addition to the information above.

Tags:

Category: Legalities

Domain Ownership


24. July 2009 18:49

Your domain name is a valuable asset to your business, without it your website and email would stop working.  Yet so many businesses fail to insure that the company's domain names are registered in the company's name.

This can happen for a number of reasons, either way when the relationship between the company and the person who registered the domain (domain registrar) comes to an end, the business will find out sooner or later that they don't control and therefore can't manage their company's domain name.

The company may find that the domain registrar is no longer contactable, may have let the domain name expire or simply retain ownership and make things difficult for the company.  If the business cannot negotiate for the domain name to be transferred to the company the last resort is to resolve the dispute through a procedure known as a Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure (UDRP).

A company does not have an automatic right to the domain name and will need to present their case in order to succeed.  The business will need to either show that the domain was originally registered in bad faith, the registrar did not have a legitimate interest in it or the domain name is a registered trademark of the business.  A UDRP can be a time-consuming and costly process and success is not guaranteed.

It is therefore imperative that a business actively manage their domain names.

Tags: ,

Category: Domain Names | Legalities

Your Website and Legal Compliance


17. May 2009 14:44

When you are thinking about what content you want on your new business website one of the last things your mind will probably be a privacy policy, terms and conditions, or a copyright statement.

You may also not realise that the UK data protection act may be applicable to you if you handle personal information through your website, or that your website needs to be built with accessibility in mind.

Privacy Policies

A privacy policy allows you to state how you will respect the privacy of your users, by explaining what information you collect and how you store and use it.

Cookies
A form of data collection which your website may or may not use is the cookie.   Your privacy policy should also mention your website’s use of cookies, and how to refuse them.  Be sure to ask the company that builds your website if cookies are being used, as the use of cookies by websites is covered by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive).

A sample privacy policy can be downloaded from the BusinessLink.gov.uk.

Terms and Conditions

A terms and conditions notice provides visitors with information about the content of your website and what they are permitted and not permitted to use it for.  A sample website usage terms and conditions can be downloaded from the Business Link website.

Copyright Notice

A copyright notice allows you to express how your website content can be used, downloaded or distributed by your visitors.  A sample internet copyright notice can be downloaded from Business Link.  You may also wish to consider licensing your work at Creative Commons, this will allow you to keep your copyright, but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit.

Data Protection Act and your Website

The UK Data Protection Act requires all organisations which handle personal information to comply with a number of important principles regarding privacy and disclosure.

There are eight principles which are designed to ensure that personal information is handled properly.  The Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them.

If you process personal information on your website then you will need to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office.  This currently costs £35 a year and adds your business to the public register of data controllers.

Accessibility

The UK Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) refers to the provision of goods, facilities and services.  The act makes it “unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service which it provides to members of the public.”  The act means that service providers must “take reasonable steps to change a practice which makes it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of its services.”

Make sure the company that is building your website makes your website accessible, otherwise you could face legal action.