A testimonial by Omar Johnson, CEO at Enforce Digital.
As many businesses do, I have also suffered the hits of the country where my company was established in. As you probably already know, as a business owner, you need to comply with a number of requirements, including registration, bookkeeping, accounting, taxes, legal compliance, etc.
Of course, as I wanted to squeeze out the maximum profit and make the lowest amount of investments, I had only hired an accountant and no one else. Although I had no issues when registering my company, running my online store, filing annual financial statements, etc., problems started emerging a whole entire year after I had established my e-commerce company.
I realized I was making profit and paying my taxes, but that I had not taken into account any of the legal requirements that my country imposed on online businesses. And my country, being a part of the EU, obviously meant that the legal requirements were much more stringent.
One day, I was approached by the local data protection regulator in my country. In the form of a signed letter, I was informed that my company had fallen under the radar of the inspections that the regulator was making on a regular basis. Having been monitored for over 3 months, I had been issued a fine of approximately EUR 15.500 (the equivalent of approx. USD 16.000) for not having any policy that outlined how I collect and process the personal data of my clients. I was just receiving orders, processing them, sending the goods to my clients and cashing in the money. I was not even aware that I had to have such a policy! And this was much more than the profit I had made for the entire past year!
Things really started falling apart, when I received two claims from customers, which were unhappy with the products that I sold them. They threatened to sue me for lost profits and other consequential damages. I then realized that I was also doing business without any contracts between me, as an e-commerce business and my clients. I did not have any general terms and conditions or any return policy. I was so exposed to so many liabilities. You cannot even imagine…
Having browsed the internet about my issues, I found the guys from Lege Nova, which helped me deal with my issues in an elegant and quick manner. They offered me a simple three step plan to overcome the abyss I had managed to put myself in. From a growing and earning online business to an indebted entity that was about to lose everything…
Having contacted Lege Nova, Martin and Stefan were kind enough to offer me to:
- Educating me on how to comply with the relevant European Union requirements for the processing of personal data, in order to be able to sidestep any claims by regulators and clients in the future, including on how to obtain consent from my clients for the processing of their data.
- Negotiate an amicable solution with the local regulator, in order to minimize the fines and penalties that I was obliged to pay and make a settlement with the clients which had filed claims against me and the goods I was selling.
At the end, instead of paying EUR 20.000+, the fines, imposed by the regulator were lowered to the amazing EUR 2.800 and the claims by my clients were settled to EUR 1.650 in total and the obligation on my side to send those clients completely new replacement products.
Although, it is probably not the best option to say this, but I had paid Lege Nova in total less than EUR 700. Imagine how much money I would have saved, if I had thought about this before I had started to do business. And the abovementioned penalties and fines that I had paid do not include the immaterial, reputational damage and stress I had suffered in the meantime.
In the end, I would just like to advise all e-commerce business owners like myself. Do not underestimate the legal requirements that you have in order to run your online business. It is not worth risking your entire business, instead of paying a couple of hundred euros to an innovative startup, like the one these guys had set up. After doing some research I found that a law firm would have charged me at least 10 times more than what I have paid to Lege Nova!
So prevent the risks, do not try to cure them, as you might not have the luck that I had. This is why I write this testimonial. To express my gratitude and to try and prevent you all of making the same mistakes that I did. My business was saved, even though I had to pay a couple of thousand Euros worth of fines.
Finally, I would like to say that I would definitely recommend those young and extremely professional people and trust them with all my future entrepreneurial endeavors. Thank you Lege Nova!
We publish this testimonial without redaction or editing.
Thank you for the great words, Omar!