Consumer Contracts and E-Commerce Regulations

Consumer Contracts and E-Commerce Regulations


Whether your business is selling goods, services or digital content online or you’re simply using the internet as an advertising tool, there are certain obligations which you’ll need to abide by. Make sure you’re in the know and use relevant updated Ts and Cs to avoid falling foul of the laws.

Consumer Contracts Regulations

In order to comply with the Consumer Contracts Regulations (which replaced the Distance Selling Regulations in June 2014), all businesses trading online must provide:
• business details including geographical address and phone number
• accurate description of products being sold and the length of any contractual commitment
• breakdown of pricing, cost of delivery and who bears the cost of returns
• details of right to cancel, including a standard cancellation form
• information on compatibility of digital content with hardware/software

The regulations extended the “cooling off period” for any sales which you conduct online from 7 working days to 14 calendar days. They also introduced a default delivery period of 30 days for goods and banned the use of pre-ticked boxes during an online sales process as a way of facilitating additional purchases.

Electronic Commerce Regulations

Under the the Electronic Commerce Regulations, all businesses which advertise their goods or services online must provide:
• full company details, including name, geographical address and email. Businesses registered with Companies House should also provide their registered address along with their company registration number
• if relevant, details of registration or authorisation schemes
• if relevant, details of membership of professional bodies or trade organisations
• if relevant, VAT number

Businesses which are engaging in e-commerce (ie. actually selling their products online) must additionally provide a readily accessible, fair and meaningful set of terms and conditions (preferably linked from each page of their website). They should also give details of any relevant codes of practice or conduct. There should be an outline of the technical steps which must be followed to complete a contract, along with technical means of correcting any input errors. If the contract can be concluded in different languages, these options need to be provided and it should be noted whether a record of the contract is kept by the seller and if this is accessible to the buyer.

Finally, any commercial communications must be identifiable as being of a commercial nature, provide the terms of any promotional offers and identify the sender of the communication (or, if different, on whose behalf it’s being sent).

We have a range of up-to-date website terms and conditions which can be used by your business and adapted to your needs. These can be downloaded from our Business Documents Folder. Click on the relevant links below for further information.

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