Founded in 2014 by Managing Partner Mauro Festa, LegalFor is an Italian outique law firm with establishments abroad. The firm provides legal consultancy to companies operating in highly innovative markets such as the IT market. Thanks to its lawyer’s broad experience in conducting and resolving complex legal matters related to IT and everything digital, clients, predominantly companies, often turn to the firm after having been advised inadequatley with regard to their business processes or having been provided with unappealing modalities elsewhere.
One of the firm’s success stories, for instance, revolved around an alternative methode of selling a client’s products: sales via Whatsapp, an enormously popular and widespread messaging app that has over 1.5 billion active users. Being an absolutely innovative sales tool that hasn’t been specificly regulated, LegalFor’s consultancy focused on defining a low risk modus operandithat would allow for lawful acquisitions and sales of goods through Whatsapp.
In order to come up with such a modus operandi, it had been key to first of all identify all applicable law at the time, which included Italian privacy and data protection laws, the Italian Consumer Code (Codice del Consumo, Lgs. 206/2005), the Italian Code on distance contracts (disciplina sui contratti a distanza, D.Lgs. 185/1999), the Italian e-Commerce Code (commercio elettronico, D.Lgs. 70/2003) and article 1341 of the Italian civil code on the general conditions of a contract (art. 1341 codice civile, condizioni generali di contratto). The relevant principles of these codes then were translated into legal disclaimers. The hardest task to solve was finding a way to bring these disclaimers to the attention potential consumers without compromising the usibility and the speed of interaction of the app.
In terms of privacy and personal data protection, it was crucial to bring the content of the client’s (data controller) disclaimers in compliance with the respective regulations as well as to assess whether there is the necessity of obtaining consumers’ (data subjects) expressive, free and antecedent consent for the processing of their personal data or not. In addition to drafting lawful disclaimers, modalities had to be defined by which the disclaimers could be made available to consumers in the most gainful way and their consent, if necessary, could be seeked and recorded. The other above mentioned codes had to be consulted in order to draft lawful general terms and conditions of the sale and to specify whether there is, subsequently to the sale, the necessity of a written acceptance or not. The consultency and analysis phase resulted in a concrete procedure, the modus operandi, by which a seller can use an app to sell products in compliance with the law.
The modus operandioutlined above starts with the definition of the chat message sent to consumers. This message has to include a series of essential information. The consumer shall further, in accordance with article 51 paragraph 2 of the Consumer Code, be made aware of the fact that his order implies the obligation to pay a predefined sum. The company should take into due consideration the consequences deriving from noncompliance with this provision. The company also has the obligation to transmit a confirmation of the order. Deadline and modality of that transmissions have also been subject to LegalFor’s consultancy. Finally, it has to be made sure that the company, in accordance with article 7 of the e-Commerce Code (commercio elettronico, D.Lgs. 70/2003), renders mandatory general information (its name, legal form, address, fiscal code etc.) easily accessible, possibly by inserting these information into the sales contract’s general terms and conditions.
LegalFor even achieved to solve a problem of utmost importance for businesses: the problem of how to use Whatsapp for the collection of consumer’s personal data and, subsequently, how to use that data for promotional purposes. Focusing on the crucial points brought out by the e-Commerce Code, LegalFor is able to provide a variety of solutions that allowed to put Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and profiling functions into practice.
In conclusion, legal services provided by LegalFor respond to all emerging needs of businesses that are not solely relying on traditional forms of marketing but also apply the latest technologies. LegalFor fulfills the need of pace and immediateness that caracterizes the digital environment while still providing comprehensive legal protection. In lack of specific legislation, it does so by developing strategies based on existing legislation and through logical thinking, always aiming at incentivising the technological progress, the business itself and the synergies between these two.