What is website law?
In the UK there are a range of UK and EU laws and regulations which apply to all businesses, whether or not their channel of trade is via a website.
For example, these laws have an important impact on how you should word website terms and conditions - both to stay within the law and to give you the best protection. See website terms and conditions for more information about the impact of such laws and regulations.
Part of this body of law, often loosely described as "website laws", "web laws" or "ecommerce laws", consists of regulations which are specifically directed, or at least very relevant, to businesses selling goods or services via ecommerce websites. These website laws include:
Distance Selling Regulations
The old Distance Selling Regulations (full title: "The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000") have been replaced from June 2014 with a new detailed set of rules. This is not a pure web law as it applies to all contracts concluded at a distance i.e. remotely (and indeed some other kinds of contracts as well) but it is clearly a very important regulation for ecommerce websites.
Amongst other things, the regulations require that online traders selling goods or services to consumers provide certain information about their business, their goods and services, their payment and delivery arrangements and consumers' right to cancel. Some of this information has to be made available before the contract is concluded; part of it has to be confirmed afterwards.
One important aspect of the Distance Selling Regulations is that (subject to some exceptions, such as customised goods or travel services) consumers are provided with a mandatory "cooling off" period of fourteen days. This right to cancel can be extended if consumers haven't been given the correct information at the outset.
See distance selling for more detailed information about the new rules.
The Ecommerce Regulations (full title: The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002) are another example of website regulations which emanate from the EU.
Amongst other things, the Ecommerce Regulations require that ecommerce websites make available to buyers certain information such as name, geographic address, contact details, VAT number etc.
In one sense, the Ecommerce Regulations simplify web regulation in that UK traders are released from having to comply with some regulations in other European Economic Area countries - but this excludes certain areas such as consumer contracts.
In the case of a breach of the Ecommerce Regulations, customers can cancel their orders, seek court orders requiring compliance and sue for damages for breach of statutory duty if they have suffered loss.
How Adlex Solicitors can assist with website law and website regulations ...
... for a free initial chat and more information, contact internet solicitor Adam Taylor on +44 (0) 207 317 8404 or email.