One of the silver linings to emerge during the Covid-19 pandemic is a huge surge in the e-commerce activities with many people reassessing their work/life balance, a widespread acceptance of working from home or even finding themselves unexpectedly unemployed.  

As a result, we have been working closely with a number of businesses and website designers to help online businesses achieve compliance in this area either by preparing fresh policies from scratch or updating their existing policies.  We like to think that our work allows entrepreneurs to get on with the exciting stuff while we ensure they do it safely. 

 If you are selling any products or services online, you must comply with e-commerce regulations,  so what are the main factors here?  We summarise below:  

  • Intellectual Property (IP). Your website is one of your key business assets, yet far too often the underlying IP rights of the website and the domain name are often overlooked when the website is being designed by a third party. Also, it’s worth considering the location of your website host/maintenance provider as it’s not unusual for online businesses to outsource this to companies outside the UK.  If this would fall under the definition of processing personal data under the legislation, then you may need to consider additional obligations here.   
  • Cookie Policy. Cookies are small text files that can be used to improve users’ experience. However, you are required to alert the users of the cookies that are being used and why. If you do not have a policy or have not updated your current policy, your website might be operating unlawfully. We would highly recommend that you liaise with your website developer without delay to find out what cookies are being used by the website.  You will have seen popups and messages on sites, we can help you design yours by working with your website developer. 
  • Terms and conditions. Your terms and conditions describe everything your business does and form the backbone of you business.  They absolutely should not be copied and pasted from anywhere else as it’s unlikely that any two businesses are complete copies of each other and you might only realise when you face an issue with a customer and find you cannot point at your own terms.  Depending on your online business, your terms and conditions of business should consider who you are selling to (there are significant differences between consumer and business customers) the product description, price, intellectual property, return or cancellation policies, limitation of liability, refunds, dispute resolution, complaint procedure to name a few.  
  • Website Terms, and acceptable use terms. A website terms of use policy states the terms on which visitors are permitted to use the features of the website. If your website offers opportunity for users to participate such as uploading content or using a forum, you might also want to consider having an acceptable use terms policy to ensure all users adhere to the same standards of use.  Think about this like people visiting your shop and what you rules you’d like to set. 
  • Privacy Policy. Depending on the business, the website is most likely going to collect personal data about visitors and including details as names, addresses, email addresses, payment details to name a few. For businesses processing UK resident data, the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 governs the protection of customers data, and requires that everyone responsible for using personal data follows strict rules of compliance when handling personal data. It is therefore important to include a formal privacy policy which explains who has access to the data, what data is being collected, how is it being processed as well as user rights. It is important that the link to the policy is clear and policy is not overly complicated.  

 

Disclaimer: 

 Please note that this blog post is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at the date it was published.  

It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. We recommend that you reach out for a specific legal advice about your circumstances before taking or deciding not to take any further action. Please contact us if you have any questions.  

 

We offer advice on:  

  • Business structure and set up  
  • Shareholders agreements 
  • Contract formation and management  
  • Trademarks and IP protection 
  • Website Policies  
  • Terms and Conditions 
  • Directors Service Agreements  
  • Marketing and UK GDPR health check  
  • Privacy and Data Protection 
  • Complete e-commerce set up  
  • Supply, distribution and manufacturing agreements  

 

How can we help?  

Tiger Law is here to help protect you and your business. E-commerce business requires significant consideration and detail, and might seem challenging.  

Our lawyers can help you ensure that you know the regulations that apply to your online business and that you comply with the legal requirements, which can help you avoid and resolve potential legal issues.  

 As we say here at Tiger Law “prevention is better than cure”.  

 

We hope this has helped but please do not hesitate to contact us by using one of the following methods if you want to discuss this further:  

 

 Key contacts:  

 If you need assistance with negotiating, drafting and or advising on commercial contracts whether business to business or business to consumer context, please contact:  

  • Cynthia Jakes, Commercial Solicitor at Tiger Law.   
  • Damion Way, Senior Consultant Solicitor at Tiger Law  
  • Vanessa Challess, Senior Partner and Founder of Tiger Law  

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