What are the regulations surrounding e-commerce?

If you are selling online you need to know about and comply with the e-commerce regulations. Here's a practical guide and templates.

All online retailers must deal with both the traditional legislation on consumer protection and the more recent, specific rules governing sales over the internet.

There are various acts that apply to all retailers such as the Sales of Goods Act, the Consumer Credit Act and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations.

As a general theme, the e-commerce regulations promote transparency and certainty, giving the consumer as much access as possible to information about the retailer and the contract and the unqualified right to withdraw from any online sale seven days after entering into it.

Information that must be provided to customers (either via your terms and conditions, privacy policy or elsewhere) includes:

  • The company's name, postal address and email address
  • The company's registration number
  • Trade or professional association membership
  • VAT number (if applicable)
  • Steps needed to complete the online contract
  • Whether or not the contract is stored, for how long and if it is made available for the consumer
  • How the site allows consumers to notice and correct errors to their order before purchasing
  • The languages offered to conclude the contract
  • The ID of the supplier
  • Characteristics of the goods/service
  • The price
  • Payment and delivery details
  • Cancellation rights

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The information on this page applies to England and Wales only.

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