12th March 2015
Having an up-to-date website is part and parcel of doing business but staying on top of the never-ending list of regulations surrounding compliance can be challenging and time consuming.
For online contracts to be binding on the customer, your terms must be accepted; so it is not sufficient just to place your terms and conditions on your website. You also need to ensure that a customer is given the opportunity to read and accept your terms prior to the sale being made.
The new Consumer Contracts Regulations now apply to all purchases made at a distance, with the following requirements for online traders:
Remember that terms and conditions must be written in plain English. Some automatic terms are deemed unfair and not binding on the customer, like those that prevent the customer recovering their money on cancellation.
Plus, if your website collects personal data, then you need to comply with the rules contained in the Data Protection Act, such as obtaining an opt-in from the customer. There are also strict rules on website cookies, in that you must give users the opportunity to refuse them.
Regularly reviewing your terms and conditions of trading and data protection policies will make sure they are the right side of the law and look after your interests if a customer dispute arises.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.