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Thread: PO Boxes

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    London England
    Posts
    8

    Default PO Boxes - Geographical Address for Website = Virtual office

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucie View Post
    I don't really want to use my actual address on my website or leaflets for the sake of security............ I thought about going down the route of getting a PO Box, but have been told that this might put off customers and Isn't actually much more secure than a house address........ There are companies out there that offer "real street addresses",............(very expensive hidden costs / post going missing, etc).

    So here's my question - Would a PO Box put any of you off, or is this an out-dated idea? Do any of you have any better suggestions?
    As an online cash for gold company we did a lot of research into this for security reasons, This is how we set it up :

    1. Address on website and Ltd company registered address from Virtual Office in London with full mail forwarding service; Clearly show your telephone and email on contact us page.
    2. PO box number to send and receive day to day business mail. Traceable to nearest main post office so secure.

    Customers feel safe with full Address on website, London address also adds prestige and we fulfil distance selling rules. PO Box address is used for all standard business mail, even the bank who have all our address on file mail to our PO box. Great care must be taken to choose a virtual office who will filter junk mail before forwarding as this service costs per item, be careful to use Virtual office address only on your website. Who use's snail mail these days? if your telephone number and email address is on the same page. HMRC and a surprisingly small number of others will write.
    I will happily provide contact details for Virtual office service.

    Hope that helps
    Last edited by Gold Girl; 04-01-2013 at 10:14 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Exeter, Devon
    Posts
    1,783

    Default

    I have my email address and home phone number (albeit ex-directory) and mobile number. People can buy from the website if they want to, but after two years nobody has, so in my write up on the "About Me" part I say that we both live and work in Exeter, Devon. I have had people contact me by phone to ask about certain things, mostly people that saw us at a show and either didnt have enough money on them (we can now take card payments, but only person to person) or wanted to buy it as a present for people they were with. My address isnt on the website for the same reason, I work from home, although all of my work is silver jewellery, there is only semi-precious stones nothing expensive, and I have two dogs, so they would get licked to death if they broke in.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    150

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucie View Post
    Just reading through the info & looks like Carole might be onto something here (yay). It seems to say that geographical address / physical location only actually needs to be disclosed once a customer has decided to buy
    Were you really established shen you dropped the address from your website Carole?
    I've just read the the guidance that pearlescence linked to which states
    You must give your consumers certain information before they agree to buy from you. We refer to this as pre-contractual information which includes the following: if payment is required in advance, you must supply your full geographic address
    I guess there may be two scenarios.

    1. You have a website with items that are ready to be sold so the customer would just add the item to their basket and then pay. (Is payment required in advance (of the contract)? Yes, because the customer can just 'click and buy'. At the point of sale they are 'agreeing to buy from you').

    2. You have a gallery of items that may or may not be ready to sell and the customer needs to make an enquiry to perhaps find out the price of the item. There is no facility to purchase directly from the website. (Is payment required in advance (of the contract)? No, because the customer is just making an enquiry (and is not able to purchase anything anyway). At this stage the customer has not agreed anything).

    Scenario 1 - The address should be on the website. How else could the business reveal the address before the customer makes the purchase?
    Scenario 2 - The address should be revealed when a response is sent via email. This still gives the customer the necessary information 'before they agree to buy'.

    This is how I interpreted it anyhow.

    Regards removing an address once becoming an established business, I don't think this is really relevant - a business still needs to fulfil its pre-contractual obligations.

    I'm not too keen on having my address on a website but am more than happy to have it as part of my signature in emails but if I want to sell pieces as in scenario 1, unfortunately, I'd need to display an address (or so it seems?).
    Last edited by surfergirl; 05-01-2013 at 08:59 AM.
    Indi

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    491

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    Hi everyone. Thanks for the comments Goldgirl - Is it the virtual office address on your website or your actual geographical address? I'd be really interested in the details of the virtual office as I've been having trouble locating one that has good reviews at a reasonable price!!
    Is a virtual office address acceptable as it isn't actually where I operate the business from?

    Patstone - My entire business will be online (once I actually get it going as I have no means of having a physical shop and to be honest, I do't live in the kind of area where folk buy a lot of jewellery! I was hoping that it might be acceptable to provide an address once an order has been placed? I think buying a big dog might actually be a plan though .

    Surfergirl - The way the website works is that items available to buy are all viewed in galleries, but people don't buy from the website using a shopping cart. All items are bespoke, so customers decide on a design they like, then it's tailored to them once they decide to order. Payment is taken in advance, but only once a customer has decided to go ahead and place an order.
    I only put "average" prices on my website because I work in silver, gold and sometimes platinum - prices vary so much on a daily basis that i'd be shooting myself in the foot to put exact prices on the site - I could end up losing a lot of money! Prices are again agreed when an item is ordered.
    Does that make any sense?
    I have no problem providing an address once an order has been placed, but thought that missing the address off the website completely might make me look like i'm not legit.
    I'm worried that it might 1. Not be legal and 2. might lose me customers.

    xx

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    London England
    Posts
    8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucie View Post
    Goldgirl - Is it the virtual office address on your website or your actual geographical address? I'd be really interested in the details of the virtual office as I've been having trouble locating one that has good reviews at a reasonable price!!
    Is a virtual office address acceptable as it isn't actually where I operate the business from?
    The company we use for our Virtual Office in London is London Office ltd telephone 0208 417 1452 I dealt with Robert he's completely up to speed with the legality, and I found him most helpful; please do tell him you were referred by 247 Cash for Gold Ltd.

    We are a ltd company and use our VO as Registered office as well as (Geographic) London Address. Don’t be mislead by ‘virtual’ they have offices to rent for meetings, a boardroom to rent by the hour, telephone answering service etc.

    You are 100% correct a website without an address does not look legit. Easily found and easily verified contact details are essential for a successful website. Potential customers are very quickly lost. My advice is build your website with a personnel touch and feel, allow your customers to understand who you are, build a relationship by writing (talking) to your customers rather than selling. Personalise you website shopping experience as you would your high street shop. If you had a shop you would not give out you home address, even if you created all your jewellery and did the admin from home.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1,744

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    I don't have an address on my site at all, never have. I also don't have a shopping cart system. If someone wants something, they email me and depending on what it is, they either get a papypal invoice for full payment or deposit. The paypal invoices have my address on them, so the only people who have my address are those who are requesting an item.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    491

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    Thanks for the feedback folks!
    I like the idea of a virtal office & will contact them tomorrow for price details - Thank you very much for these Goldgirl

    I have looked around at a few other "similar" sites to mine & have noted with interest that many of them don't reveal an address until after an order is placed - like you have suggested Medusa. They seem to have been running for a number of years successfully without it affecting their business.

    Still sitting on the fence with this one, but really really appreciate all the help and advice! x

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    998

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    Lots of businesses online are in breach of the Distance Selling Regulations.
    You can see what the law is here
    http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/bus...ral/oft913.pdf
    Author: Pearls A Practical Guide
    www.pearlsapractical.guide
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1,744

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucie View Post
    Thanks for the feedback folks!
    I like the idea of a virtal office & will contact them tomorrow for price details - Thank you very much for these Goldgirl

    I have looked around at a few other "similar" sites to mine & have noted with interest that many of them don't reveal an address until after an order is placed - like you have suggested Medusa. They seem to have been running for a number of years successfully without it affecting their business.

    Still sitting on the fence with this one, but really really appreciate all the help and advice! x
    technically my customers have the address and full name etc information before an order is placed because all that info is on the paypal invoice. I don't consider an order placed until either a deposit (in the case of custom orders, which make up the bulk of my sales) or full payment is made.

    Very occasionally I get people wanting to pay by bank transfer in which case I email my name and address details along with bank details beforehand. Despite the fees I do prefer paypal though, because it makes it easier to keep track of sales.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    998

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    While you can consider there is no contract made between you and a customer before they pay a deposit or in full, the law does not see it that way. A contract is formed when both sides agree a deal, not when one side performs their part of the deal.
    You need to study the DSRs
    Author: Pearls A Practical Guide
    www.pearlsapractical.guide
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk

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