Folksy Ltd

Virtual Address


(Fiona Humphrey) #1

Hi. First post since the new swanky forum set up. Anyway. I would love to hear from anyone who has advice about virtual office addresses. I am moving house soon and as we are selling up to relocate we will be renting initially. I want to check out viable alternatives to giving my home address to comply with Distance Selling Regs. Does anyone have any creative legal alternatives or experience of virtual offices (which do comply with DSR).

Many thanks.
Fiona


(Lizzie Gillum, Bedfordshire, Uk ) #2

Hi Fiona,

The Govt. website has a Guide to Distance Selling Regulations - https://www.gov.uk/online-and-distance-selling-for-businesses. It doesn’t say anywhere that you must give your Home address as your Business address. I’m sure that you can use a PO box, or similar, so long as you are collecting mail from it regularly - ie. it is current and maintained.

The regulations say you must give an address before orders are placed - “if you want payment in advance” and that after sales, you must give “an address where complaints can be sent”. The Online Selling regulations don’t seem to add anything extra regarding a postal address - just an e-mail address.

So I don’t see why you couldn’t set up a PO box, or use one of the similar services provided by private companies. Or even use a relative’s address temporarily, while you get settled in your new home.

Hope that helps?

Lizzie
x


(Lizzie Gillum, Bedfordshire, Uk ) #3

PS. I’d recommend re-directing your mail for a year anyway, when you do move - just in case!


(Fiona Humphrey) #4

Thanks Lizzie. I will definitely be getting mail redirected.

I have only ever had one return and that was because the customer hadn’t updated their addresses online after moving house so it came back as unknown at address and was readily solved by me re-sending to their new address.

I am happy that there wouldn’t be any issues for customers - it’s more about compliance really. More investigations needed as it might be fine anyway. I will look into PO Box too- I would prefer that as can have one much more locally. Virtual office addresses are all over the shop and vary hugely in price. Some are actually quite reasonable but can’t find one close enough at the right price yet.

I suspect some are unhappy replying because compliance is an uncomfortable topic so I really appreciate your reply. Thank you. x


(Sian ) #5

I’m sorry to say that I do know that PO boxes are not compliant:

http://dshub.tradingstandards.gov.uk/dsrexplained

“A geographical address means a real address – a PO box will not do. If a business is operated from home, this is likely to be the geographic address at which it is established and you must give this address.”

I can’t help you with virtual offices though, sorry! It’s probably worth contacting Trading Standards for advice.


(Fiona Humphrey) #6

Thanks! I had a feeling that was the case about PO boxes. It will either be virtual (which are actual business premises) or our address. I know that virtual offices comply - lots of businesses use them now and they’re all over the place, many with attached meeting rooms and telephone services too. The more money you pay, they more you get and better premises too. Decisions decisions.


(Lizzie Gillum, Bedfordshire, Uk ) #7

Thanks for that @sianfolksy1! Why the .gov website couldn’t mention this, I don’t know! You’d think they would take the trouble to give All the relevant info… Noted in case of being needed in the future.

I guess you’re just relying on re-direction, or using a friend/relative’s address temporarily Fiona!

Lizzie


(Fiona Humphrey) #8

Still undecided, but will be closing shop before we move for a bit so plenty of time to work it out. Am surprised that no-one on here had used one though - great way to keep home address private and still comply with all regulations. I am liking the idea more and more, it’s just about finding the right one now. Thanks all. :smile: