How Is Your Website Breaking The Law?

With the ever increasing amount of online fraud, theft and spam, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been vamping up their efforts to protect US consumers on the web. Since 2014, there has been a noticeable rise in the FTC regulating companies’ data security practices and cracking down on non-compliant businesses.

Additionally, the EU has designed a set of laws to strengthen personal data protection for its citizens, called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Effective May 25, 2018, the GDPR applies to any company that processes or stores the personal data of EU citizens. For more information on exactly what the GDPR is we wrote about it in our Countdown to GDPR in 2018. 

Is your website breaking any laws by not having the proper legal pages and data protection policies in place?

IS YOUR WEBSITE COMPLIANT?

FTC Basic Compliance

federal-trade-commission-seal

Do you understand the FTC rules that apply to your website? Are they even on your radar?

The FTC is the federal government’s primary consumer protection agency. Over the last decade, online data security has become a key component of consumer protection obligations regulated by the FTC.

While some legal pages that limit your liability online are recommended, others are required by law to be compliant with the FTC.

If you collect any personal data on your website, like names and email addresses, you must have the most basic FTC requirement – a privacy policy.

A privacy policy is required on all websites that collect ANY data from a visitor. It can be as simple as their name and email address. The rules simply are to explain what you are collecting and also what you will be using it for. Are you going to share it with another party? If you are sharing it with a vendor that is assisting in servicing the client, that is considered sharing.  

If you sell anything to US consumers online, or collect sensitive data, like social security numbers or credit card information the FTC guidelines become more complicated. Additionally, there are FTC regulations for affiliates and sponsor ads displayed on your website. There are even more rules if you have online marketing.

Online entrepreneurs and small businesses are typically not familiar with what it takes to be FTC compliant. And frankly most people don’t have the time to read through the FTC’s lengthy online documents filled with legal jargon. From there, creating and implementing the necessary legal pages on your site can be a tedious process.

THE NON-COMPLIANT CONSEQUENCES 

FTC Consequences

While your chances of being pursued by the FTC may be slim, it does happen. And, if it does happen to you, are you prepared for the hefty consequences?

Being sued by the FTC:

  • Holds you personally liable for damages (potentially millions of dollars in fines)
  • Can ensure you are never affiliated with that business or even that industry again
  • Require you to report to the FTC for 10-20 years in any other business venture (it’s like being audited by the IRS every year)

The easier and more reasonable thing to do is become FTC compliant.

 

HOW TO GET COMPLIANT 

The larger companies like Microsoft and Amazon were able to quickly put forth the the time and effort to create compliance programs and satisfy the FTC. However, the small and mid-sized businesses that may not fully understand what the FTC wants may become prime targets. 

KartHost™ is passionate about helping our customers succeed online. And with that in mind, we have researched and found several ways for our WordPress clients to easily comply. But to make it easy we are focusing on one way and that is by simply installing one plug called WPLegal Pages Pro*. (After install YOU do have to Read the pages and make them your own based on your business practices)

Even though it may never happen to you, FTC & GDPR compliance is a no-brainer you must have it. For our WordPress clients click on the link and add it to your website. If you need help, just open a WordPress Helpdesk support ticket and we will help you get it installed.

WP Legal Paes

*AFFILIATE COMPENSATION DISCLOSURE

Gail Randolph