UK Online Regulations
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Regulations for Ecommerce Websites

This is a brief summary of the three main sets of regulations and acts effecting online trading in the UK that merchants need to be aware of.

They help protect customers personal and financial information. Guarantee that goods bought online are suitable for the purpose for which they were sold. They also ensure that online contracts are as binding as their offline counterparts.

Data Protection Act 1998
this regulates how your customers personal and finical details are stored. This also applies to records written down on paper, as well as those stored on computer. You have to be open about how you use confidential information as well as following the guidelines laid down in the data protection act.

There are eight guiding principles in the act. They ensure that all personal information held must be:

  • processed in accordance with all regulations

  • only used for specified purposes

  • relevant to the intended use and not excessive

  • accurate and where applicable up to date

  • disposed of once the information is no longer necessary

  • the rights of the customer must not be affected

  • kept safe and securely

  • not transported to countries outside the European Community unless the information is properly protected


(Distance Selling) Regulations 2000

These specify the information that you must provide to your customer when a transaction takes place.

You must also supply your companies name and address plus a description of any goods or services offered. You must provide the customer with a written order confirmation and give them a cooling off period in which they cancel there purchase and receive a refund.


Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002

specify what you must tell your customer about your company and details the regulations affecting advertising and promotions. You must clearly state the terms and conditions for any online contract and allow them to print out a copy for themselves.