Is your website legal?

Your customers need to have confidence that the goods and services being offered online are genuine. With the ever-growing rise of e-commerce, there is great potential for consumers to be mislead or scammed.

Two key areas were addressed by EU lawmakers, in order to protect consumers online:

  • The safety of their personal and financial data
  • The ability to ensure their legal rights when buying online

To address these areas, the EU developed two directories focusing on distant selling and e-commerce. Both of these have been implemented into the UK since 2002 through business regulations. These regulations focus on business-to-consumer rather than business-to-business transactions.


How to comply

In order to comply with the new regulations all online businesses must address the following criteria, alongside the same laws that all retailers must follow:

  • Registered Information – The website needs to display all company information if a UK registered business. Sole traders and partnerships need to show the address of the principle place of business
  • Cookies – Websites must require user consent to leave cookies unless the cookie is necessary for the website to function
  • Private Policy – A privacy policy or data protection notice must be displayed to inform what data is being used for and explaining cookies. All businesses of any size using data collection need to register their business with the government.
  • Equality Act 2010 – Content must be available to all users
  • Disclaimer – Explains that visitors can use published information to the extent stated and does not accept liability that may arise from using the information
  • Terms and Conditions – Must be provided including a delivery and returns policy
  • EU Anti Spam Laws – Ensure that email lists are ‘opt-in’ and must include ‘opt-out’ instructions
  • Clear and Concise Information – Provide all the necessary information that would be given in store including VAT pricing and written conformation of purchase


The risks of not complying

Not complying may generate two kinds of legal liability:

  • Civil Liability – injunctions or damage payments
  • Criminal Liability – fine and criminal record or even prison

This information is meant for guidance only. Always seek professional legal advice.