Keeping it legal when running an e-commerce website
Launching and running an online business may seem a world away from the bureaucratic red tape associated with having a high street presence and the stringent regulations that govern the sale of products and services. Rules do exist on the information super highway and it is important that you are aware of these restrictions so you’re not breaking the law.
In the UK there are four important acts, directives and laws that you must comply with if you are selling goods or services online. These are:
- The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002
- The Data Protection Act 1998
- The Distance Selling Act 2000
- ICO Cookie Law
The first of these, The Electronic Commerce Directive came into force on the 21st August 2002 and lays out the ground rules associated with commercial communication with the customer and the contact information you must provide. The directive states that the term “commercial communication” means a communication, in any form, designed to promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services or image of any person pursuing a commercial, industrial or craft activity or exercising a regulated profession.
So in essence any wording or image you display which relates to selling goods or services is affected by this directive.