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  1. #1
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    I am in soon launching a price comparison site (of computer hardware), that will compare prices from retailers/vendors from several countries around the world. Prices will be entered by the retailers themselves as often as they care/wish, and the prices can then be searched from my site... It will work much like Pricewatch, Ibuyer etc, but it will be international instead...

    The service will be free for both the retailers/vendors and the users.

    To make sure I don't end up getting a law suit on my neck, I want to make sure I have a legal disclaimer that will make sure it won't happen. Does any of you know of any good resources to find out more about this issue ?

  2. #2
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    Coupla questions...

    First one about the business in general:
    Have you attempted this business model before? I would seem to me that companies wouldn't want to give you their info - it means they would lose what ever advantage they would have buy only publishing prices on their web site where they have a captive audience (and certainly not other companies trying to out bid them) I don't want to discourage you but I'm wondering if companies will want to devote the time, expense, and attention to self entering prices when the nature of the site forces them to sell low.

    OK, some questions about your site:
    What method will you have for ensuring that the person entering the data is actually from the company they claim to be? The possibility of competitors entering prices but claiming they are from a company present serious liability concerns for you. Without a strict security/verification system this spells p-r-o-b-l-e-m-s.

    There's no problem per se with publishing price comparisons (or even using trademarks (i.e. Microsoft, IBM) without permission as long as they are properly attributed and presented with the understanding that this is a price comparrison. Check out the small print newspapers usually publish: Something to the effect of "This newspaper [Web site] cannot guarantee prices or availability or that errors have not been made in the listing of such information.... etc. etc." A further statement should be made that prices were self entered (if you can actually get companies to do that) by the companies, prices based upon latest info. as of _date_, pricing and availability may occur without notice, quantities are limited, etc. etc.

    Where could you get more info on the legal issues presented? There are a variety of legal issues here: contract, consumer protection law, trademark, etc. If you are serious I'd get an attorney. That'll be the most efficient method of getting ALL the info you need to protect your business. Second best'll be educate yourself at the local law library (trust me it'll be a long, boring process). Last best option? Chance 'em. If you and your business (and your parents if your under 21) don't got much $ anyways, hell, what can people sue you for?

    Speaking of money and business, have you made a decision what business organization (inc.,llc, etc.) will offer YOU the most protection?

    Write back I'll help in anyway I can.

    Exotic Hawaii
    Live the Life of Your Dreams!
    http://exotichawaii.com

    Oh yeah speaking of disclaimers: This ain't no stinking legal opinion 'cause I ain't an attorney (yet), I don't know what jurisdiction you're writin' from, or what the heck are the actual legal issues you actually need an opinion on... yada, yada, blah, blah...

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply... I'll try and answer your questions...

    I have not had an attempt at this business model before. But I have had response from around 30 retailers already, that have said that they WILL add their prices. I know that pricelists will press down prices (which is tough for businesses), but my pricelist will also get some unknown companies out to the public... At Pricewatch.com retailers add the prices themselves, and this service has over 40M page views a month (they claim), so it CAN work...

    About ensuring that it is actually a person from a company they claim to be from: good point! When the retailers sign up, I and the retailer receive an email with their details. I will check through this info, to see if it stems from the right retailer, and if the email address etc is right... But thanks for raising that point, this is something I haven't really throught through properly...

    Yeah, I know that price comparisons are ok, and as the retailers here do it voluntarily, this should pose no problems...

    About the legal issues: actually, I have studied law for three years myself, but this was in Denmark. But I will have prices from retailers in the US, UK, Australia, Scandinavia etc, so I really need some international guidelines... But if I write up a disclaimer as most of these sites have, I should be ok as you say...

    To begin with, I will make NO money from this site. Obviously if I get a decent number of hits, I will be able to sell some advertising etc, but that will be the only income as of now. I might add an option later where retailer's prices are fetched directly from the retailer's sites, and I think I would charge for this. But otherwise it's free for retailers...

    About business organization - I am not sure what to do yet. This really started out as a cute idea, but has now evolved into something larger. I will have to look closer at the various organization models here in Sweden where I live now...

    The legal issues I could see could be:
    - A price is listed on the site, but is wrong
    - A retailer in my pricelist treats customers badly
    - etc.

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Fantastic! With 30 retailers already committed it sounds like it should be a success. For no money it sure sounds like a lot of work though!

    I think you have most of the issues covered. With some type of passworded and encrypted system for retailers to enter their stores info and with disclaimers you will have solved most of the potential problems that I can think of.

    Again, if prices were posted wrong it may reflect negatively on your business, but much of this perception can be counteracted by a prompt, responsible response on your part - A conspicious correction coupled with the disclaimers and a reinforced message that retailers are responsible for posting their own prices.

    Perhaps the later problem - that of a retailer treating a customer badly - could be handled by adding a rating system of retailer's customer service. Problem is that (again) adds to your (underpaid) work load.

    If you have much at stake or if the enterprise does start to make money I'd wholey recommend a business entity for yourself that protects your liability/assets. Don't know what they call that there, but here it'd be a Corporation or a Limited Liability Company.

    P.S. My utmost respect to you for thinking out possible problems BEFORE they happen!

    Exotic Hawaii: Live the life of your dreams!
    http://exotichawaii.com

  5. #5
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    Again - thanks for your reply.

    Yeah, I know it sounds crazy to do all this for nothing, but I only expect to be able to make something from this if I choose this way of doing it: I want as many retailers as possible in the pricelist, because that will attract the most visitors, which again means that I will have an easier time making money from this...

    About a rating system: it's in the works. I don't know exactly how to do it - I would want the users of my site to rate retailers, but I want to make sure that the ratings are as true as possible - very tough task... I guess I'll have to check in on Reseller Ratings etc to see how they do it, and maybe be inspired by that...

    If this thing starts to make money I WILL get myself a LLC or something similar - it will also sort out a lot of problems with customs etc, but that's a whole other story...

    About your PS: well, I guess the 3 years I studied law taught me something or other :)

    Thanks for your help - I really appreciate it...


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