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Privacy Policy for a Website

What is a privacy policy for a website, and are they legally required in 2021?

If your online business collects personal information, you’re legally required to have a privacy policy on your website and mobile app ­­– if you have one. A privacy policy informs your customers and website visitors regarding what specific information is – or is not – collected on your website and how it is handled.

We’ve compiled information that will help answer the following questions: What is the privacy policy for a website, and are they legally required? We’ve also recommended three online legal services known to be the best in serving new online businesses.

­­What Is a Privacy Policy?

A Privacy Policy is a declaration that discloses handling personal information (anything that can be used to identify someone). It stipulates how data is collected, stored, released, and the rights of your website visitors. As an online business owner, you assume responsibility for protecting people’s privacy in collecting this information.

It is one of the most important legal requirements for an online business, regardless of where in the world you operate from. With a Privacy Policy in place, you’ll comply with legal regulations to protect you and your business from liability.

Privacy Policy for a Website

What Is Personal Information?

The directive M-10-23 defines personally recognizable data as any information that can be traced to an individual’s identity; by either using a single point of information or using other information points. Data can be deemed personally identifiable and, therefore, liable for protection.

Using Third-Party Data Collecting Services

Third-party services such as Google Analytics or Google AdWords store cookies on a user’s device to collect their browsing activity data while they use a particular website.

If you’re considering using or already use third-party services like these, then your Privacy Policy must include information about your use of their services. This either needs to be in a separate “Cookies” section or as a Cookies Policy.

To ensure customer compliance, Google includes in their Terms and Conditions that any business using their Analytics and AdWords services must disclose how personal data will be collected and handled in a Privacy Policy.

Privacy Policies for eCommerce

A Privacy Policy for an e-commerce business will cover the information you collect directly, e.g., the details collected on the checkout page, and indirectly when using a service such as Google Analytics.

If your business is in the e-commerce space, you must give your customers the option to provide or decline to provide their personally identifiable information – as well as an option to change their mind.

The Privacy Policy for your e-commerce business should be inclusive and written using plain English so your average site visitor can understand it and their rights.

Privacy Policies are Still Required Even When No Data Is Collected

Your Privacy Policy will inform your visitors of the type of personal information that your website does or does not collect. If you don’t collect personally identifiable data, then your Privacy Policy will simply say just that.

Other Reasons Why Privacy Policies Are Important

Other than complying with the law, here are some other reasons why you should include a Privacy Policy on your website:

  • A Privacy Policy page will add a professional touch to your online business
  • Privacy Policies increase trust in you and your business. Your visitors and customers may expect to see one and will feel better about doing business with you

Even if you don’t think you are collecting personal data, chances are that you’re handling personal data in some way. Thus, better to be safe than sorry.

Privacy Policy for a Website

FAQ

Can I Make My Own Legally Binding Contract?

For most contracts to be legally valid and enforceable, it requires the following two elements:

  • An agreement has been established. When an offer has been made by one party and accepted by the other
  • Something of significance must be traded, e.g., services or goods, or a promise to exchange something else of value

Check your state’s laws to find out which contracts need to be in writing. Even if it’s not a legal requirement, business agreements should always be in writing ­­– because oral contracts are difficult and virtually impossible to prove.

What Makes a Contract Void?

For a contract to be legally binding, it must include:

  • A proposal and acceptance
  • Deliberation
  • Parties with the capacity to enter into a contract
  • Mutual acceptance

A contract may become null and void and no longer enforceable under state or federal laws when:

It differs from fundamental public policies

  • It’s severely biased
  • It includes illegal undertakings or crimes
  • Agreed by parties without the capacity to enter into a contract, e.g., minors
  • It’s impracticable to achieve
  • It limits certain rights, e.g., the right to work

A contract with any of the above elements is void and can’t be amended. The court is likely to cancel these contracts altogether.

Who Lacks the Capacity to Contract?

For legally binding agreements, some people lack the legal capacity to enter into a contract. In legal matters, they are considered not to understand what they are doing. If the following people enter into a contract, it will be regarded as voidable:

  • Minors – those under the age of 18 in most states
  • Mental Incapacity – those with mental conditions
  • Those intoxicated with drugs and alcohol
Privacy Policy for a Website

Are Online Agreements Legally Binding?

Electronic signatures make a contract as legally binding as those set out on paper. An e-contract can be written by and emailed to someone you wish to enter into a contract to indicate acceptance they send it back with their electronic signature.

Another example of an e-contract typically included in the terms and conditions for software is to have an “I agree” checkbox. The user must check the box to complete the transaction.

Are Online Terms and Conditions Enforceable?

For your customers to purchase goods or register to access your services, for example, a legally binding, enforceable contract is formed once your customer accepts your terms and conditions of service.

Recommendations

For access to legal support and advice, we recommend any of the following three online services where you can also buy privacy policy templates.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom is excellent for a small business needing regular outsourced legal assistance. They’re a well-known, trusted brand that has helped 1.5 million businesses to launch and 4 million customers worldwide since 2001. In addition, they offer some unique services that most online legal services don’t.

Pricing

Here are some of the costs you can expect to pay when choosing one of their most popular services:

  • Business formation services for LLCs start at $79 + filing fees
  • A Doing Business as the structure will cost $99 + state filing fees

The pricing for legal forms is not available on their website. For detailed information on their business formation services and pricing, check out their pricing page.

Pros

  • They provide an annual business evaluation and access to tax professionals
  • Their rates are typically lower than their competitors
  • They have an easily accessible US-based customer service, available seven days a week

Cons

  • Their business formation services are more expensive than competitors
  • The service provided by their customer service can be inconsistent

Rocket Lawyer

Founded in 2008, Rocket Lawyer has quickly grown to serve more than 20 million businesses and customers in offering legal documents and affordable advice. Most of their services have a one-time fee option or, for regular support, a monthly membership subscription.

Pricing

Premium membership is $39.99 per month. For that price, you get access to most of their services. Alternatively, you could pay a one-time fee for the service you require:

  • For simple-to-create documents, for quick signatures, and anytime access to share and download $39.99 per month
  • To ask an attorney one question its $49.99 per month

For detailed information on their plans, check out their pricing plan page.

Pros

  • Access to legal advice via online Q&A sessions with attorneys
  • Intuitive form builder to help make your customized legal contracts and documents easy to create
  • Unlimited document revisions and copies

Cons

No customer service support available on the weekends

Privacy Policy for a Website

Legal Nature

Legal Nature specializes in state-compliant, customized legal documents and forms and formation services for new business, a highly reputable brand with over 3,000 five-star reviews on Trustpilot.

Pricing

  • The starting price is $34.95 to create a single document for your business.
  • A monthly subscription of $38.95 per month allows you access to their document library, where you can create a customized version of your legal document under any category. The annual price is $84.
  • Their business formation service is $39

To find out more about their services, plans, and pricing, check out their pricing page.

Pros

  • They offer a large selection of customizable legal forms
  • They have excellent customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • They do not provide personalized legal advice
  • They do not offer free tax forms
Privacy Policy for a Website

Privacy Policies and Legal Services for Your New Online Business

We have decided to go with LegalZoom as the best choice in offering a comprehensive selection of legal services to launch an online business. We like that many of their services are centered around business formation; their expertise will be invaluable during the early stages of setting up your business.

We hope we have satisfactorily answered your question on a privacy policy for a website and if they are legally required and pointed you in the right direction for online legal services to support and grow your new online business.