General Business Forum Brought to you by Total Gas & Power

Fresh Threads: John Lewis, contracts and cybersecurity

  1. Kat Haylock

    Kat Haylock Community Editor Staff Member

    443 201
    4 |

    Hi UKBFers,

    Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the best comments and advice from the forums. 

    Well folks, it’s a bumper edition this week. As my eagle-eyed regular readers (hi mum) will spot, this article features a whopping six threads. Six!

    Have the threads this week been simply that good, or do I just have a lot of free time? Read on and find out…

    1. Cheap web design for a new business

    Rjwhite, Ecommerce

    Rjwhite knows cheaper isn’t always better, but he’s launching a business on the smallest budget he can. He’s looking for a decent web designer to create something simple, and wonders what the benchmark price for this sort of service would be.

    Alan: There is no benchmark price – just as there is no specific length of string. As for cheap, if you don't value your time, then DIY on Shopify or get a cheap Wordpress install. Most of the effort of ecommerce is actually in setting up all the products and images etc.

    Antropy: Buy cheap and buy again. It may seem like a lot of money to go with a respected company, but you never get a second chance of a first impression on a website. If it looks like it has been done on the cheap, then it doesn't create the best first impression. 

    NickGrogan: If a website isn't worth paying for, either in terms of your time or money, then do you actually need a website? If it's important to the business, then you need to invest in it.

    2. Are contracts without signatures legal?

    Tony84, Legal

    “We’re having a new office system built and one of the final decisions to make is whether we stick to getting documents signed or we accept online signatures. Are there any examples of a contract without a physical signature standing up in court?”

    The Byre: A contract does not have to be signed to be binding: see this link. The signature is merely proof that the people signing have agreed to the terms of the contract. There are other types of proof, such as acceptance emails and witnesses for a verbal contract.

    Smallclaimsassistance: I wouldn't worry about a customer's take on the law. If contract law in England and Wales depended on signatures, our economy would have ground to a halt decades ago. 

    Signatures are essential for some kinds of contracts (mostly those requiring execution by deeds), but otherwise they're not necessary to the formation of a contract. All you need is to be able to demonstrate in writing (ideally, but also not strictly necessary) that you have conveyed to your punter before the contract was formed - that's before agreement and payment – the service or goods offered, the price/payment terms, your terms of business and the fact the payment or continuing instruction will be deemed acceptance of your terms.

    3. Am I being too sensitive?

    Susy, Employment & HR

    Susy’s been a duty manager for over a year at her company. She was always popular with colleagues and clients, but her new manager seems to have taken an instant dislike to her. All her duty manager shifts have been taken off her, and she’s getting less responsibility.

    “I might be reading too much into this, but it has really upset me. I love my job and like having responsibility, but I feel like I’m being pushed out. It’s disheartening. How do I approach my new manager, without making myself look like a troublemaker?”

    Newchodge: You need to seek a formal meeting with the new manager and explain that while you are happy to multi-task, you expected to continue your deputy manager role as well. Ask him why this isn’t continuing and listen carefully to what he says. Do it calmly and in a way that is non-confrontational – you are asking for information, not challenging a decision.

    If his response is bluster, denial and bull, you need to think carefully about escalating this above him. That is your only alternative to accepting this as it is. If he comes up with a valid response, rethink your situation – have you been over-sensitive and are you actually being singled out because you are seen to be prepared to accept change? It's not an easy thing to do. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Jessica A: I understand where you're coming from. It is not easy being manipulated by your superior when you've done nothing wrong. Talk it over with your manager in a rational way and make sure to not let your emotions take over. It would be a disaster if you do.

    4. Hackers still targeting ecommerce websites

    dotcomdude, Ecommerce

    dotcomedude monitors the source code for a number of ecommerce websites. He recently had an alert and discovered that they’d installed some code making use of the IndoXploit – basically, a menu system that can easily discover server details and execute commands like uploading files and cracking passwords.

    In his experience, he says, most of these hacks run silently, so it’s nothing you’d notice as a website user or admin. They usually take a copy of the database and add some code to email off new customer details as they’re entered.

    “I'm going to be quite blunt. I've been doing this job for about 16 years, and I've never yet seen [the source code of] a successful ecommerce website that hasn't been hacked. So, if you've got an ecommerce website that's doing OK*, get someone to check the source code to see if it's been hacked.

    *By doing OK, I mean coming up high in organic searches or being advertised through PPC. Only inexperienced hackers target ecommerce websites that are out in the wilderness on their own...

    WebDesires: There simply is no excuse for any web professional not to spend time learning security principles and at least trying to keep their work or code compliant and secure. But you are right, it is very common. There are a lot of wannabe developers out there who know how to mash code together (just about!) but don't learn the most important thing in programming: security.

    Antropy: Hacks on ecommerce sites are getting more and more common. The most frequent one we see is a payment gateway hack where card details are emailed to a throwaway Russian email address. We also see a common one where a fake payment option is added in an iframe, which sends the payment to a PayPal address.

    The most common way in seems to be weak passwords. A very complex password is a pain to type and remember, which is the reason people go for simple ones.

    5. John Lewis’ profits

    deniser, General Business

    As news this week announced, John Lewis (who deniser describes as the “barometer and a stalwart of the retail industry”) has seen half yearly profits plunge 99%.

    “It's the perfect storm,” deniser says. “But Dominic Raab still says it has nothing to do with Brexit and it's all John Lewis's fault... Absolutely shocking.”

    Mr D: It explains the new TV advert (read the discussion on their Bohemian Rhapsody ad here). Trade out of trouble is a well-established method.

    thetiger2015: Prices have been eroded for the last few years, but the decline has got worse recently, especially online. The continual influx of overseas goods, sent directly to customers' homes for pennies from China and other exporters, is the killer. Meanwhile, us mugs are left with crippling VAT, business rates and silly courier prices (in comparison to the freebies the overseas sellers get). 

    One has to wonder, is the plan to make us all employees of the big retailers? It makes perfect sense! Why have self-employed people when you can force them on to PAYE and tie them in to huge rents or mortgages that ensure they'll have to remain employed by Amazon, eBay, Tesco or Asda?

    6. Fancy watching a movie? Well, you can’t

    Fisicx, Time Out

    With a blunt thread title like that, there could only be one author couldn’t there?

    This week, one Apple user discovered that several movies he’d purchased had disappeared from his cloud library. Apparently, since Apple no longer had the license rights for those movies, they’d been removed. It turns out buying something doesn’t necessarily give you ownership, just the ability to download it. Good, isn’t it?

    Read the original The Register article here and catch up with the community's thoughts in this thread.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  2. Furqan721

    Furqan721 UKBF Contributor Full Member

    54 3
    Thank You for sharing this stuff!
    Posted: May 16, 2018 By: Furqan721 Member since: Feb 26, 2018
  3. Salifuj

    Salifuj UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    24 1
    After all said and done, not all businesses or websites need to worry about it. Most small businesses will not be affected right?
    Posted: May 30, 2018 By: Salifuj Member since: Oct 7, 2016