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A Basic eCommerce guide on laws and regulations

eCommerce is a newer area of the retail industry. You must follow general corporate regulations as well as local and international laws that apply to your business, much like other types of internet businesses. 

You'll also have to follow any digital-specific regulations that apply to your stores, such as web accessibility, data privacy, and electronic payment processing. 

With this in mind, we'll explore the necessity of adhering to eCommerce rules and highlight some of the most important laws and policies to be aware of, as staying updated about the legal concerns that your eCommerce website may encounter is critical.

How to make your online business compliant with eCommerce laws
Data privacy has become a significant problem for many countries and regions as the globe becomes more reliant on digital products and services. 

Noncompliance with these requirements, in most situations, can result in not only large financial implications but also considerable and long-term damage to public trust and your organization's reputation. 

The law governing the conduct of business online in England is laid out in a variety of legislative instruments, some of which are unique to online trading and others which apply to all business operations. 

The following regulations are especially important:

  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA)
This particular law has unified and revised a variety of prior UK consumer rights legislation, including statutory implied provisions in consumer contracts and consumer remedies for breach.

  • The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (Consumer Contract Regulations)
This policy imposes additional requirements on website operators who deal with consumers and give consumers the right to cancel their contracts. 

  • The Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) 
This regulation restricts traders from engaging in a variety of unfair business activities, including misleading actions or omissions, and features a ‘blacklist’ of forbidden commercial practices. 

  • The Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (POS Regulations) 
This law states that traders shall not discriminate amongst EEA residents based on nationality or place of residence in the provision of services unless objective conditions are met (for example, the provision of services across borders involves additional costs).

  • The GDPR and the Data Protection Act of 2018 (DPA)
Both policies have regulations regarding the use of personal data, including information about website visitors. 

  • The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PEC Regulations)
This governs electronic communication-based direct marketing (both solicited and uninvited). A new European ePrivacy Regulation is now in the proposal stage, but the timeline for ultimate approval and implementation is unknown.

Post-Brexit changes to eCommerce regulations in the UK
The Electronic Commerce Directive (ECD) is a piece of EU legislation that exempts online activities delivered from one EEA state to a person in another EEA state from host state regulation. 

These restrictions are no longer in effect, as the exclusion expired on December 31, 2020, at the end of the transition period. 

The ECD exclusion, which allowed UK businesses to continue serving EEA consumers, has already expired. 

If you were relying on the exclusion to do business in the EEA before the transition period ended, you should have made alternative arrangements with the relevant EEA authority.

You should now be well-versed in the legal standards for e-commerce websites. While it may appear to be a lot to take in at first, these laws and regulations are in place to protect your company and its customers. 

Please keep in mind that criteria vary frequently, so it's a good idea to check for updates on a regular basis. Remember to visit our blog to keep up with the latest news.

Persona Finance offers an extensive range of legal and accounting services for all types of businesses. For more information on how we can help your business grow, please contact us at [enquiries@personafinance.co.uk]. 

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