Saturday, 31 October 2009

Survey Results

Listing Items

I’m just going to list the highlight of the survey results here, we need to remember that the results are only from people who bothered to do the survey, and some people did not answer every question.

1. Many people list more than one item at a time (30.5% always, 67.8 sometimes) (97.1%).
Only one person never lists more than one item at a time

2. Only one person would say ‘NO’ if they were offered advice on the best method of listing, But some (27.2%) don’t know, or would look at it, before rejecting it

3. 65.9% of people use a careful calculation to decide the price of there items.
13.6% guess (6)
13.6% Base it on others prices (6)
6.8% just cover costs

4. 32% of people list on Sunday, the most popular day, followed by 16 on Monday, 6% on Tuesday, 12% on Wednesday, 14% on Thursday, just 6% on Friday and 14% on Saturday (9 people skipped this question).

5. The Evening is the most popular time to list (55.9%), with the Afternoon being 32.2% and the morning at 20.3%

6. 72.9% have been given no comments about their prices, with 20.3% who have had comments, while 6.8% can’t remember

7. 44.1% of people list after they have made something, with 45.8% after they have a good photo, and 5.1% (3) after a sale, of the ‘Other’ comments, when the person has ‘Time’ is the overwhelming factor.

8. 83.1% of people have no limit to how much stock they will list in there shop, with 13.6% (8) setting a limit and 3.4% don’t know.

9. Stock in shops
1 to 10 is 16.9%
11 to 20 is 28.8%
21 to 30 is 15.3%
31 to 40 is 16.9%
41 to 50 is 13.6%
50 or more is 8.5%

10. Of the 59 people who have completed the survey, only 48 wanted to be sent the results

My Conclusions

Some careful though will go into my comments, but some things are clear from the start, Sunday is the day when most people list, and with most people listing more than one item at a time, items will fly down the ‘Buying’ page, as everyone list new things, I do know that I have had sales on Sundays, but without some way of tracking traffic to the site (Google Analytics) it is hard say if this is peak or not for visitors.

I have some strong suggestions but wish to keep this post short (every post seems to be long), so I’ll post some comments latter.


About the posts below

Now I know they are long, and while you all have busy lives, please remember that I have edited them down to just the essential bits, you do need to know what they say and how they can effect you, in general a breach of these regulations is punishable on tarif 4 on the standard scale (which i beleive is now £2500, but it may be much higher)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Distance Selling Regulations 2000

The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulation 2000

First let me start by saying that I am not a solicitor, and that any advice given here is based on my own personal view.

First of all we need to look at what the regulation require
Text in italics is taken from the Regulations and can be found in full at further information can be found at the following websites and also at


Information required prior to the conclusion of the contract
7. – (1) subject to Paragraph (4), in good time prior to the conclusion of the contract the supplier shall –

(a) provide to the consumer the following information –
(i) the identity of the supplier and, where the contract requires payment in advance, the supplier’s address;
(ii) a description of the main characteristics of the goods or services;
(iii) the price of the goods or service including all taxes;
(iv) delivery costs where appropriate;
(v) the arrangements for payment, delivery or performance;
(vi) the existence of a right of cancellation except in the cases referred to in regulation 13;
(vii) the cost of using the means of distance communication where it is calculated other than at the basic rate;
(viii) the period for which the offer or the price remains valid; and
(ix) where appropriate, the minimum duration of the contract, in the case of contracts for the supply of goods or services to be performed permanently or recurrently;
(b) inform the consumer if he proposes, in the event of the goods or services ordered by the consumer being unavailable, to provide substitute goods or service (as the case may be) of equivalent quality and price; and
(c) inform the consumer that the cost of returning and substitute goods to the supplier in the event of cancellation would be met by the supplier.
(2) The supplier shall ensure that the information required by paragraph (1) is provided in a clear and comprehensible manner appropriate to the means of distance communication used, with due regard in particular to the principles of good faith in commercial transactions and the principles governing the protection of those who are unable to give their consent such as minors.

(3) Subject to paragraph (4), the supplier shall ensure that his commercial purpose is made clear when providing the information required by paragraph (1).

(4) In the case of a telephone communication, the identity of the supplier and the commercial purpose of the call shall be made clear at the beginning of the conversation with the consumer.

It Goes on
Right to cancel
10. - (1) Subject to regulation 13, if within the cancellation period set out in regulations 11 and 12, the consumer gives a notice of cancellation to the supplier, or any other person previously notified by the supplier to the consumer as a person to whom notice of cancellation may be given, the notice of cancellation shall operate to cancel the contract.

(2) Except as otherwise provided by these Regulations, the effect of a notice of cancellation is that the contract shall be treated as if it had not been made.

(3) For the purposes of these Regulations, a notice of cancellation is a notice in writing or in another durable medium available and accessible to the supplier (or to the other person to whom it is given) which, however expressed, indicates the intention of the consumer to cancel the contract.

(4) A notice of cancellation given under this regulation by a consumer to a supplier or other person is to be treated as having been properly given if the consumer -
(a) leaves it at the address last known to the consumer and addressed to the supplier or other person by name (in which case it is to be taken to have been given on the day on which it was left);

(b) sends it by post to the address last known to the consumer and addressed to the supplier or other person by name (in which case, it is to be taken to have been given on the day on which it was posted);

(c) sends it by facsimile to the business facsimile number last known to the consumer (in which case it is to be taken to have been given on the day on which it is sent); or

(d) sends it by electronic mail, to the business electronic mail address last known to the consumer (in which case it is to be taken to have been given on the day on which it is sent).
(5) Where a consumer gives a notice in accordance with paragraph (4)(a) or (b) to a supplier who is a body corporate or a partnership, the notice is to be treated as having been properly given if -
(a) in the case of a body corporate, it is left at the address of, or sent to, the secretary or clerk of that body; or

(b) in the case of a partnership, it is left with or sent to a partner or a person having control or management of the partnership business.

Cancellation period in the case of contracts for the supply of goods
11. - (1) For the purposes of regulation 10, the cancellation period in the case of contracts for the supply of goods begins with the day on which the contract is concluded and ends as provided in paragraphs (2) to (5).

(2) Where the supplier complies with regulation 8, the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the goods.

(3) Where a supplier who has not complied with regulation 8 provides to the consumer the information referred to in regulation 8(2), and does so in writing or in another durable medium available and accessible to the consumer, within the period of three months beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the goods, the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the information.

(4) Where neither paragraph (2) nor (3) applies, the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of three months and seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the goods.

(5) In the case of contracts for goods for delivery to third parties, paragraphs (2) to (4) shall apply as if the consumer had received the goods on the day on which they were received by the third party.

Exceptions to the right to cancel
13. - (1) Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer will not have the right to cancel the contract by giving notice of cancellation pursuant to regulation 10 in respect of contracts -
(a) for the supply of services if the supplier has complied with regulation 8(3) and performance of the contract has begun with the consumer's agreement before the end of the cancellation period applicable under regulation 12;

(c) for the supply of goods made to the consumer's specifications or clearly personalised or which by reason of their nature cannot be returned or are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly;

Recovery of sums paid by or on behalf of the consumer on cancellation, and return of security
14. (3) The supplier shall make the reimbursement referred to in paragraph (1) as soon as possible and in any case within a period not exceeding 30 days beginning with the day on which the notice of cancellation was given.
(5) Subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), the supplier may make a charge, not exceeding the direct costs of recovering any goods supplied under the contract, where a term of the contract provides that the consumer must return any goods supplied if he cancels the contract under regulation 10 but the consumer does not comply with this provision or returns the goods at the expense of the supplier.

(6) Paragraph (5) shall not apply where -
(a) the consumer cancels in circumstances where he has the right to reject the goods under a term of the contract, including a term implied by virtue of any enactment, or

(b) the term requiring the consumer to return any goods supplied if he cancels the contract is an "unfair term" within the meaning of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999
(7) Paragraph (5) shall not apply to the cost of recovering any goods which were supplied as substitutes for the goods ordered by the consumer.

Restoration of goods by consumer after cancellation
17. - (1) This regulation applies where a contract is cancelled under regulation 10 after the consumer has acquired possession of any goods under the contract other than any goods mentioned in regulation 13(1)(b) to (e).

(2) The consumer shall be treated as having been under a duty throughout the period prior to cancellation -
(a) to retain possession of the goods, and

(b) to take reasonable care of them.
(3) On cancellation, the consumer shall be under a duty to restore the goods to the supplier in accordance with this regulation, and in the meanwhile to retain possession of the goods and take reasonable care of them.

(4) The consumer shall not be under any duty to deliver the goods except at his own premises and in pursuance of a request in writing, or in another durable medium available and accessible to the consumer, from the supplier and given to the consumer either before, or at the time when, the goods are collected from those premises.

(5) If the consumer -
(a) delivers the goods (whether at his own premises or elsewhere) to any person to whom, under regulation 10(1), a notice of cancellation could have been given; or

(b) sends the goods at his own expense to such a person,
he shall be discharged from any duty to retain possession of the goods or restore them to the supplier.

(6) Where the consumer delivers the goods in accordance with paragraph (5)(a), his obligation to take care of the goods shall cease; and if he sends the goods in accordance with paragraph (5)(b), he shall be under a duty to take reasonable care to see that they are received by the supplier and not damaged in transit, but in other respects his duty to take care of the goods shall cease when he sends them.

(7) Where, at any time during the period of 21 days beginning with the day notice of cancellation was given, the consumer receives such a request as is mentioned in paragraph (4), and unreasonably refuses or unreasonably fails to comply with it, his duty to retain possession and take reasonable care of the goods shall continue until he delivers or sends the goods as mentioned in paragraph (5), but if within that period he does not receive such a request his duty to take reasonable care of the goods shall cease at the end of that period.

(8) Where -
(a) a term of the contract provides that if the consumer cancels the contract, he must return the goods to the supplier, and

(b) the consumer is not otherwise entitled to reject the goods under the terms of the contract or by virtue of any enactment,
paragraph (7) shall apply as if for the period of 21 days there were substituted the period of 6 months.

(9) Where any security has been provided in relation to the cancelled contract, the duty to restore goods imposed on the consumer by this regulation shall not be enforceable before the supplier has discharged any duty imposed on him by regulation 14(4) to return any property lodged with him as security on cancellation.

(10) Breach of a duty imposed by this regulation on a consumer is actionable as a breach of statutory duty.
Payment by card
21. - (1) Subject to paragraph (4), the consumer shall be entitled to cancel a payment where fraudulent use has been made of his payment card in connection with a contract to which this regulation applies by another person not acting, or to be treated as acting, as his agent.

(2) Subject to paragraph (4), the consumer shall be entitled to be recredited, or to have all sums returned by the card issuer, in the event of fraudulent use of his payment card in connection with a contract to which this regulation applies by another person not acting, or to be treated as acting, as the consumer's agent.

(3) Where paragraphs (1) and (2) apply, in any proceedings if the consumer alleges that any use made of the payment card was not authorised by him it is for the card issuer to prove that the use was so authorised.

(4) Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not apply to an agreement to which section 83(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 applies.

(5) Section 84 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (misuse of credit-tokens) is amended by the insertion after subsection (3) of -
" (3A) Subsections (1) and (2) shall not apply to any use, in connection with a distance contract (other than an excepted contract), of a card which is a credit-token.

(3B) In subsection (3A), "distance contract" and "excepted contract" have the meanings given in the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000."
(6) For the purposes of this regulation -
"card issuer" means the owner of the card; and
"payment card" includes credit cards, charge cards, debit cards and store cards.

That ends the Excerpts

I would recommend that everyone thinks about what this means for them.

My personal recommendation is that you have a delivery note which you send out to customers with your orders, and that you list the information required above, include details of what they should do if the wish to cancel.
Bare in mind that you should follow the information above, but you only need to give specific information, for example, stating that you must be notified by email (give your email Address) within 7 days of delivery if the person wishes to cancel and return the goods, you should state how the goods should be returned, and at whose cost! You should also give details of how you intend making the refund, and when you will make it (with in three days of the safe return of the goods).

One of the key things you should be aware of is that if someone pays you on Paypal, then Paypal will often refund the money first and sort everything else out afterwards even if you don’t have the funds in your account, and they will charge you interest if your Paypal account is overdrawn (just like any bank).

I will be doing future information on this act, but I think doing more on this now would swamp most people

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Copyright and your website

How many of us have our own websites, where we post pictures of our products, give out information.

I'm sure a lot of us have, but who has put in place some kind of formal notice on their sites as to what your view of people copying from you site is?

Here is a sample copyright notice for everyone to use, if you want to change any of the conditions go right ahead.

The simple fact is that you need to put something on your site, below is just one example (Don't forget to type in your business name into both parts, and add the year, you'll need to update this in the first on Jan each year).

This website and its content is copyright of [business name] - © [business name] [year]. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited other than the following:
• you may print or download to a local hard disk extracts for your personal and non-commercial use only
• you may copy the content to individual third parties for their personal use, but only if you acknowledge the website as the source of the material
You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

E-Commerce and the Law

The distance Selling Regulations and the E-commerce Regulations

Distance Selling Regulations 2000

So what are the Distance Selling Regulations 2000, well, they are designed to protect a customer who is not physically present with the seller at the time of purchase. They cover purchases made via email and the internet, together with telephone and mail order, sellers on folksy must comply with these regulations.

They only apply to transactions between businesses and consumers (individuals acting outside the course of their business) and do not include business-to-business contracts and auctions. As sellers on Folksy, everyone is considered a business, and every buyer is to be considered a consumer, unless it is a sale between someone selling materials and another seller (if the buyer is a none seller they must be considered a cunsumer).

Under the Regulations, consumers have the right to:
• details in writing about the supplier and the terms of the transaction
• written confirmation of their orders
• further information, including a notice of cancellation rights, the complaints procedure, after-sales services and guarantees
• delivery within 30 days unless otherwise agreed

Consumers have a cooling-off period of seven working days in which to cancel the contract, starting from when the goods are received, without having to give a reason. If no details of the cooling-off period have been given by the supplier to the consumer, it is extended to three months.
The right to withdraw can be exercised by the consumer even after the goods have been delivered, or the services have been provided. The consumer is entitled to receive a full refund for a cancelled contract within 30 days.
There are some exceptions to these rights of cancellation, including:
• contracts for the provision of accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services, where these services are supplied on a specific date or for a specific period
• the sale of customised goods or perishable goods
• sealed audio or video recordings, or software, which has been opened
• sales by auction

So what should you do to comply. Do you post information about your terms and conditions in your profile, or should it be included under your heading.

Can you use the money you have been paid buy a consumer straight away or should you leave it until after the cooling of period.

Do you have some way of checking when the goods were delivered.

I will be looking at how we comply with the Regulations in a future Post

The E-Commerce Regulations 2002

The E-commerce Regulations came into force in August 2002. They implement the European E-Commerce Directive into UK law and one of their main aims is to ensure that electronic contracts are legally binding and enforceable throughout Europe.

The Regulations apply to businesses that:

Sell goods or services to businesses or consumers on the internet, or by email or Standard Messaging Service (SMS) ie text messages
Advertise on the internet, or by email or SMS
Convey or store electronic content for customers, or provide access to a communications network

Once again I'll be doing a future blog about compliance

Another Set of Rules we must all Live by as sellers is The Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act 1998 covers the handling of Personal Information about Individuals

This topic (Data Protection) requires several posts to cover it in detail, so keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming details

3.16 and Pricing Your Products

(This is from a post of mine on September 1st 2009)

First let me say that I am not an accountant, my information here is only a general guide, some of you will already be doing some of what’s suggested, some of you will be completely baffled by some of the information and others will decide that it’s not for you.

The main thread of this is pricing your products, but to price your product you need certain information and to make certain decisions.

Remember that when you sell something you need to make a profit, but what is a Real Profit and what most people think is profit is two different creatures.

You can price your products one of two ways, either ‘cost plus’ (which is the method I favour) or ‘Value based’

Remember that the price you set for a product today, can be reviewed at any time, and that using odd pricing can bring in more sales (pricing an item at £9.95 rather than £10 is called odd pricing).

Now I’m going to assume that everyone is a Sole Trader, but the rules are only slightly different for companies.

Value based pricing is the method most people have been using and is something that leads to more businesses failing than any other factor. Your price is set by what you think (with a little research) the market will pay for your goods. The problem with this, and it is very common on folksy and crafters in general is that you don’t even cover your materials cost, and all your other costs are either ignored or you are not even aware of them.

My personal reasons why this is wrong is because you never make a profit, you may think you do, but you don’t, let me explain Cost Plus pricing and why it’s more effective, and you’ll see things that will tell you why you don’t make a profit.

First to use the ‘cost plus’ method, you need to know your costs, simple you’d think! Knowing your costs means more than just knowing how much your materials cost.

Working out your Costs
Some basic accounts need to be used to work out costs, but accounts are only as good as what you include, so what should you include
Fixed Assets costs……what are they?
A fixed asset is something that you do not intend to resell, in my case, machines such as band saw, drill press, bench sander, scroll saw, Computer, Printer, Work benches, Chairs, task lights, all my hand tools, etc,
Overheads….. what are they?
Expenses incurred in running the business, they can be broken down into Production costs, sandpaper, wood, jewellery findings, oil, drill bits, saw blades, packaging basically everything you use to make your products except materials (keep a separate list for Materials (you’ll need to do a traditional how much it cost in materials later), Premises such as rent, electricity, gas, rates, telephone, Product liability insurance, General liability Insurance, premises insurance, do you have your stock insured, both during transit and storage. etc, Sales & Promotion such as listing fee’s, transaction fee’s, Stationery, Business cards, postage cost’s (sending out info, not goods), Internet (Broadband), Domain hosting, everything that you pay for monthly or yearly. General Costs, thing you can sub divide if need be, transportation, education, professional subscriptions and memberships, accountancy and bank fees, interest payments on loans, don’t forget that you may even be able to claim for personal protective equipments (mine include safety boots, Safety Glasses, protective gloves, foul weather clothing for craft fairs in winter, and sun cream for summer events) etc Sundry/Miscellaneous Items for which there is no other category or which happen so seldom that they are not worth listing separately.
If you add most of the totals from above together (except materials cost) and then divide that total by 1680 (average hours worked per year) that will give you an hourly background cost (for the sake of the rest of this data sheet well say £3.68)
Wages Now you may not thing you employ anyone, but you do, yourself, what about Insurance, both personal and N.I., (general and loss of earnings, a pension for you, even private medical insurance (cover for optical and dental?). Do you cost out your hourly rate (say you would like to earn £25,000 a year, break that down to an hourly rate not just for production time but also for sale, promotion, IT, Accounts etc. 25,000 divided by 52 weeks is about 480 a week or about £12 per hour).

Knowing how much all the above will cost you is the Key to making a profit, but in your first year you may not know how much this will cost, and if the price of one thing goes up, it can throw out your prices (why it’s important to review prices).

A simple formula was worked out by some accountant many years ago, after years of analysing accounts, they came up with cost (clear upfront costs such as materials, labour, listing fees etc.) multiplied by 3.16, now as with most things that accountants do, there are whole books on how this was worked out, and as it is in wide use, I’m not saying trust it blindly, but for me it works.

So how does it work and how do you use it?
Say that your materials cost you £2.00, and labour £6.00, and our background cost is £3.68 = £11.68,
So do you sell the item for £11.68 plus postage and listing costs? No! You still have to pay income tax on what you earn, and what about a bit of profit, and in six weeks a wholesaler wants to sell the item, he wants a discount or he won’t take your goods,
Now we use 3.16 to get our retail price, so £11.68 X 3.16 = £36.91, that will be our recommended retail price. If you need to sell wholesale you can divide by 2 (which gives £18.45 which still leaves a small margin of profit). Now you may feel that your price is to high at £36.91, so if you do craft fairs etc you can always display a Sale Sign stating 20% discount off retail price for direct sales (So your price drops to from £36.91 to £29.53).
Please don’t shoot the messenger, but in the business world you need to make a profit or else there is no reason for being in business (unless you want to be a not for profit company or a charity). All business need to make a profit, the best way is to keep costs down.

There are many books on accounts for small businesses available from you local library, my advice to anyone is to keep every receipt, even for petrol (don’t claim every mile your car does, but keep a record of the vehicle mileage and claim the current allowance (see revenues web site).
There are unlimited places to look for help; some of the best are the tax office, Businesslink, Federation of small businesses.

The above is not to be considered as a guide for bookkeeping. Once again this needs to be set up correctly
You should have several spread sheets
Purchase (separate for purchases on credit & Payments), Sales (give each product a stock control number and link your sales spread sheet to your stock control sheet, this should then be linked to a production control spread sheet, that can tell you what stock your running low in), Petty Cash, Bank Balance, Stock Control (stock on sale or return, stock on hand, stock donated, damaged stock, all sorts, mine includes sub sections for each range of products, pendants, bracelets, necklaces, rings, etc).
I hope you find the above enlightening. And I’m sorry if this frightens some people. There is always a place for those who different point of view. Is your way better, do tell.


This is a brand new advice blog for sellers on folksy and elsewhere. I am independent of everyone and just wish to share some thoughts and advice with fellow sellers, don't hold me responsible if you do follow my advice, because that’s what it is, Advice, It's based on a bit of knowledge and a bit of experience, and a heap of observations.

All feedback is welcome, everyone has the right to their own opinions and thoughts, if you think you have something to add, then tell me.