eCommerce, just like any kind of business, is guided by a set of rules and laws that have been in place for a long time. We live in an era where everything is guided by technology and that is why nearly all the business are shifting their focus to online business. As an entrepreneur running online business, you need to familiarize yourself with some of these legislation so that you do not find your business on the wrong side of the law. In this guide, we have outlined some of the legislation that you need to adhere to when you are running an ecommerce business. There are many advantages that come from operating an online business and that is why you should never be on the wrong side of the law lest you risk losing your business. Small and medium sizes businesses are the ones that can benefit in online business since it is a platform that they can advertise and brand themselves.
Consumer protection laws
Whether your business is running in the online platforms or is the normal over the counter set up, there are always laws that are meant to protect the consumer from exploitation by the retailers. The type of exploitation can come in terms of the prices and also the quality of the products the customer is receiving from you. As an online business in UK, your clients should always receive quality time and any instance that they receive sub-standard goods, then you are bound to face the law for violating the Consumer Protection Act. If you intend to start a business that will be offering credit to the consumers, then you need to adhere by the Consumer Credit Act which protects the consumer from signing or rather getting themselves into contracts they are not familiar with. The consumers will also be protected when they are using their credit cards in the online businesses. You need to make sure that you are familiar with all these laws so that you do not violate any of the terms contained in them. In case you have your doubts, then you need to consult your legal practitioner.
eBusiness Specific Law
This are just a set of laws that are meant to protect the consumers when they are making purchases in the online businesses. With the entry of ecommerce, many vendors saw an opportunity to exploit consumers and also evade the day to day legislations governing the operations of a normal business. The enactment of these laws saw increased consumer confidence in the online business and as of now, many people feel safe when they are making purchases only. This is also an advantage to the small business since they have realized increased sales and they business are no flourishing. This stands to show that the enactment of certain laws does not necessarily mean they are to pin down the activity of the vendors. The European Union is he body that was responsible for the enactment of these laws and that is why the businesses in UK are doing well, likewise to the economy of UK. One main objective of coming up with these laws is so that people do not hide behind a website and exploit innocent consumers. There are different information that you must have when you are running an online business;
- The name of the business you are running, its postal address and the official email address being used by the company to communicate to clients and for carrying out other business operations.
- Professional association membership details and any other form of partnership that you have in your business.
- The VAT number where necessary.
The pricing policy that you are using in your business should also be very clear to the consumer. Price is one of the crucial things and many consumers are duped when it comes to that especially in the online businesses in UK. The prices that you display on your website should be the actual price of the products. Other costs such as VATs should be clearly stated.
Distance Selling Regulation
This is also one of the laws that guide the operations of the online businesses. This law requires that the website gives certain information including;
- Who the owner is.
- The prices of the products.
- A short description of the products being offered.
- The payment services allowed and the mode of delivery going to be used.
- If there is an option for the consumer to cancel the order, the procedure of doing so should be well documented.
Most of these terms are outlined in the terms and conditions page of the online business websites but it is quite unfortunate that very few people get to read them. The laws vary from one site to another and that is why the consumers need to familiarize themselves before they make the purchases.
Another law that you need to know is the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 which requires that your online business, or rather the website, should be accessible to the people that have disability such as visually impaired people.
The last law is the Data Protection law which outlines how you are supposed to handle and protect confidential information belonging to the consumers.