Risk and Compliance

One Less Thing for Developers to Code This Holiday Season

From vampires and witches on Halloween to stuffing induced food comas and onward—it seems as the season of holiday spending has snuck up on us once again.

Retail and ecommerce sites certainly aren’t complaining. With Cyber Monday traffic bringing in record numbers, surpassing three times the amount of a normal day’s site visits, it’s not a surprise both Target and PayPal had problems handling digital customer capacity.

A lot of slow load times were via mobile shopping—what is quickly becoming a standard method for online purchasing.

Venture Beat posted an awesome article indicating that mobile commerce now accounts for seven percent of all e-commerce sales. This is expected to rise more than 50 percent over the next three years and has already risen seven percent since 2010. We can purchase items advertised within our favorite social apps (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter) by simply clicking “buy now.” With Apple Pay, your phone can act as your wallet, with Fortune speculating rumors of implementing peer to peer payment as well. No need to carry a wallet, have a computer, or get off of your couch...everything is turning mobile.

What to do About Increased Mobile Traffic

Increase in mobile consumer payments will have positive results for web and mobile merchants, but it also creates a space of increased liability and vulnerability. With each transaction you have with your customers, there are legal terms, refund policies, warranties, and more that are executed with every single purchase.

As a developer, you need to make sure you don’t overlook the reinforcement of your transactions with a solid legal record when you’re building customer facing apps or updating your ecommerce site. Every day, the volume of mobile commerce adopters is rising and they’re offering more than their email address and password to register—this is sensitive information that could come back to bite you in the form of testimony, affidavits, and tons of queries to prove who agreed to what. And time is money, especially with the limited capacity of your resources at your company.  


What you need to track to create an enforceable legal record of your transaction:

1. Provide conspicuous presentation of the website legal agreements (terms & conditions, privacy policy, refund policy, etc.) during website registration, purchases, or other clickable transactions with users.

2. Make sure the user is provided notice that acceptance of the website legal agreement is required to proceed with its clickable transaction.

3. Obtain clear manifestation of acceptance from the user. This could be in the form of a check box combined with a statement that checking the box indicates acceptance of a particular agreement.

4. Give the user a clear opportunity to review the website legal agreements. Consider presenting the agreements in a scroll box, and providing an opportunity to download or print the agreement.

5. Track what version was in place when a user accepted a website legal agreement. Always know what version of a website legal agreement was in place on any given date.

6. Don’t make any unilateral changes to the website legal agreements - make sure to obtain and record a manifestation of acceptance of any modification.

Learn more about what developers need to know about digital legal record keeping.

The projected “mobile commerce explosion” isn’t expected to peak until 2018 when, according to VentureBeat, more than 1 billion people in markets around the world will routinely use mobile payment solutions to buy both in-store, and online, via web, native mobile, and in-app—but the framework for this boom is being established now. And right now is never too soon to make sure you are covered.

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