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Why Using a Free Privacy Policy Generator Will Hurt You in the Long Run

Why Using a Free Privacy Policy Generator Will Hurt You in the Long Run

If you have a website for your business, there’s a pretty good chance that you needa privacy policy that covers international privacyanddata laws. But creating said privacy policy is a time-consuming and expensive task if you get a lawyer to do it, which is why some biz owners turn to a free privacy policy generator to get the job done.

Is using a free privacy policy generator a good idea, though? It may be free and will enable you to get your business website up and running in no time…but does it actually create a compliant privacy policy?  

What a privacy policy does…and why you need one

Before we answer the big question, let’s review what a privacy policy actually does.

A privacy policy tells website users if, why, and how you collect and store their personal information. Information could include their:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Financial information
  • And other details

There are multiple privacy laws that require you to have a privacy policy as a business, yet not every country has privacy policy requirements. To remain compliant worldwide, you’ll need a privacy policy that has provisions for each country you do business in.

Take the GDPR, for example.GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a set of rules the European Union began enforcing in 2018. Even if your biz is based in the United States, you need to comply with the GDPR if some of your site visitors come from any EU country. They don’t have to buy your products or services, just visit your site from time to time.

Other similar laws worldwide include:

Long story short, your website needs a privacy policy so you don’t break the law and get fined or sued. Having a privacy policy also shows site visitors that you take these laws seriously, and you’re transparent about any data you collect.

They may not comply with all privacy laws

You need aprivacy policy for your eCommerce store or website. Got it. So why not use a free privacy policy generator to create one quickly? And they’re free, which we small biz owners love to see, right?

Free privacy policy generators may be appealing, but they could possibly hurt you in the long run. 

For one thing, they may not necessarily be “free.” Like many memberships or subscriptions for your business, your privacy policy generator of choice probably has a basic plan that’s free, plus paid premium or VIP options. What you get with the free plan may not cover everything you need to be legally compliant.

And say you shell out for a premium or premium plus option thatdoescover all your legal bases. Is it actually worth it if you don’t regularly use their services? Probably not.

You’ll need to manually update your privacy policy

Not to burst your bubble, but once you create your privacy policy for your website, you can’t just set it and forget it. Youwillhave to update it at some point, because privacy laws do change. Just look at the GDPR we mentioned earlier, which started being enforced in 2018. In 2021, Colorado and Virginia passed their own privacy laws, as another example.

If proposed changes to privacy laws pass, current laws will need to be amended, or new laws enforced. That means your privacy policy must reflect those new or amended disclosures, too. 

A free privacy policy generator won’t automatically update the privacy policy you created for you. You’ll have to do it yourself. Oh, and say you don’t update your privacy policy and just hope for the best. The financial penalties can be pretty hefty. Violate CalOPPA, for example, and you might have to pay up to $2,500per site visitor

The best alternative to free privacy policy generators

A free privacy policy generator may be an attractive option for new small biz owners, especially when the budget’s tight and you need one right away. But that’s not all you should think about before you create your own privacy policy with one.

Remember that free or basic plans of privacy policy generators may not comply with all privacy laws, nor will they help you understand which privacy laws actuallyapplyto you. They won’t update your privacy policy when those laws change, meaning you’ll have to do it on your own. Plus, the penalties for having an incorrect or outdated privacy policy can be steep.

What’s a small biz owner to do, then? Invest ina solid privacy policy from The Contract Shop®

We’ve bundled our privacy policy with a terms and conditions for your website, ensuring that every part of your business is protectedandcompliant. All of our templates are attorney-prepared and peer-reviewed, so you can trust that they’re legit. Find the privacy policy you needin our shop today!  

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