You have several options for selling your goods: You might sell through a distributor (wholesale), sell directly to customers (retail), or place your products on consignment. Whatever method you use, it's smart to apply standard business procedures to avoid legal problems and protect your business.
Though "caveat emptor" -- let the buyer beware -- used to be the law of the marketplace, today's consumers have clout. State consumer protection statutes are meant to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive practices and often go beyond the traditional legal remedies available for breach of warranty. These laws are on the books in nearly every state.
When taking orders, whether by phone or online, you must follow the shipping and refund rules of the Federal Trade Commission's Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule, also known as the "30-Day Rule." In a nutshell, the rule mandates that when you advertise merchandise and state the shipping times, you must have a reasonable basis for believing you can meet these shipping deadlines.
Leasing equipment can be a better option for business owners who have limited capital or who need equipment that must be upgraded every few years, while purchasing can be a better option for established businesses or for equipment that has a long usable life. Each business owner's situation is unique, however, and the decision to buy or lease business equipment must be made on a case-by-case basis.
Many businesses invoice their customers. But you may not realize that when you invoice a customer, your business is actually extending credit. It may not feel like you're extending credit -- after all, you're just waiting for payment -- but from a legal perspective, you're making an unsecured loan. You should consider the customer's creditworthiness before you do so. Here are a few basic principals to keep in mind.