Website Legal Requirements – Ecommerce and Distance Selling Rules

A number of different laws apply to websites, the content on them and online sales  which are set out in the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2005 (as amended) and the E-Commerce Regulations 2002 which have been summarised below.

Company Information

The following information must be made available on your website:

  • your legal name i.e. XYZ Ltd. If this is different from your trading name any differences should be explained.
  • your geographical address,  which must be the registered office if you are a company
  • which country your business is registered in
  • the registration number of your company
  • details of any supervisory body which regulates your business i.e. the FSA. For regulated bodies more detailed information is required
  • your VAT number
  • where you are registered for VAT
  • clear details of prices and whether or not delivery and/or tax is included

Contact Information

The following contact information must be provided in an easily accessible position on your website:

  • an email address
  • telephone number
  • fax number (if you have one)

Online Sales

The following information and contract requirements must be complied with under the E-Commerce Regulations:

  • the consumer must be given clear information about the goods or services offered
  • the consumer must be told how and when the agreement is concluded
  • the consumer has the right to cancel the agreement within 7 working days
  • the consumer must be sent written confirmation of all of the above information

The Regulations to do not apply to certain types of services for example, financial services and the right to cancel can be excluded in some limited circumstances. The Regulations are complicated and vary depending on whether you are selling goods or services.

Other Laws

In addition to the E-Commerce Regulations and the Distance Selling Regulations other laws such as the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, the Business Names Act 1985, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the new EU Consumer Rights Directive will apply to your website and sales made online.


Irene Bodle is an IT lawyer specialising in Internet Law and SaaS Agreements with over 10 years experience in the IT sector. If you require assistance with any Internet Law, SaaS, ASP, software on demand contracts or any other IT legal issues contact me:

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