Selling online laws checklist for ecommerce websites

Selling online laws checklist for ecommerce websites[ 6 min read ]

Are you looking at setting up an online shop?

Did you know that there is more than just stock to think about? In the UK there are important acts, directives and laws that you must comply with if you are selling goods or services online. This blog will help you with the other things you need to consider.

What are the main points?

  • The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002
  • The Data Protection Act 2018
  • The Distance Selling Act 2000 (replaced by Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013)
  • The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (the Regulations)
  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • ICO Cookie Law

The latest information regaring UK regulations for online and distance selling can be found here. These are regularly updated so it’s well worth checking out regularly. If you want to read more about how the Data Protection Act has changed what you need to do to make your site compliant the advent of GDPR, then we have another blog here which may help.

Some of these laws are built in with software like Woocommerce. But to help you know what laws affect you and your ecommerce website, here is a handy list which is information we’ve cobbled together from a few sources.

If you’ve got anything you’d like to add, or anything you need help with them please use the contact form below to get in touch. 

Company and Product Information

Have you included information about your company? This should include full company name, company registration number for a limited company, relevant contact details including a business address, VAT number if relevant, email address, etc.

Is this information clearly displayed to your potential customer?

Have you provided the main characteristics or description of the goods or services being provided?

If your company is acting on behalf of another entity or third party, you should also provide the address and identity of the other trader.

Have you properly incorporated your terms and conditions? (These are classed as ‘content’ and are usually not provided by your web designer)

Terms and Conditions

Are your website terms and conditions fair and reasonable?

Are they capable of being saved and printed properly and legibly?

Do you direct your customer towards the terms and conditions during the sale process?

Do you advise your customer of all the technical steps to make a transaction?

Offer, Acceptance and Liability

Do you make it clear that your potential customer is making an offer when placing an order which you can either accept or decline?

Have you included a mechanism in relation to acceptance of orders where you control the point at which the contract is formed? Do you provide for the timing and deemed place of sending and receipt of electronic communications?

Have you limited your liability?

Has this been brought to the attention of your customers?

Is it reasonable?

Can you insure against the liability that you are accepting


Are your prices clear and unambiguous?

Have you provided a summary total of the goods and/or services (inclusive of all taxes)?

Have you provided clear information regarding the method of payment?

If you provide goods/services that a customer cannot reasonably calculate them in advance, you should explain the manner by which the price is to be calculated.

Have you taken steps to avoid being bound by mistakes in pricing information?

Have you advised your potential customers of delivery times, costs and relevant taxes?

Have you notified your customer that they will have to bear the cost of returning the goods?

Have you provided for the payment mechanism? If payment is by credit card, have you made it clear that receipt of payment does not mean that you have accepted an order and that you reserve the right to return the payment to the customer?

Have you included any necessary confirmations from the customer as to age, country of residence and/or authority to use the payment card?

After-sales Support

Does the site provide a means of correcting errors after the order is placed?

Have you notified the customer of the existence and/or conditions of after-sale service, after-sale support or commercial guarantees?

If your helpline incurs significant charges for the customer, have you notified them of these charges?

Other contractual notices and policies

Have you included provisions as to:

A cooling-off period?

Delivery and associated charges?

A returns and refunds policy? (This is classed as ‘content’ and are usually not provided by your web designer)

Any rights that the consumer may have under local law? (e.g. do distance selling regulations apply?)

Where applicable, have you notified the customer of the minimum duration of their obligations under the contract?

The conditions available to all parties to terminate the contract?

The duration of the contract?

A choice of law and forum clause?

Your ability to change terms on notice?

Complaint handling policy?

Have you included an appropriate data protection notice? (This is classed as ‘content’ and are usually not provided by your web designer)

Do you need to include any other notices? (e.g. where you are not selling to customers resident in certain countries?)

Have you included an online copyright notice? Does it grant a limited licence? (e.g. personal use, copy to hard disk, print etc.)

Have you included all necessary disclaimers? Are they clear and brought to the attention of visitors to the site? (This is classed as ‘content’ and are usually not provided by your web designer)

Do you have a clear disputes procedure and a link to the ODR Platform**?




Suzi Smart Bear

I'm Suzi - the owner of The Smart Bear.

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