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Selling via a website

Selling via a website



National Consumer Agency guide for businesses on their legal obligations if they sell online to consumers - from eCommerce regulations to data protection.

National Consumer Agency guide for businesses on their legal obligations if they sell online to consumers - from eCommerce regulations to data protection.



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    Selling via a website Selling via a website Presentation Transcript

    • NCA guide for businesses Selling via a website An overview of the key rules if you sell online to consumers
    • Selling online to consumers
      • Do you sell products or services to consumers through a website?
      • If you do, no matter how big or small your site, you must meet certain legal obligations
      These rules apply whether you are a large established company or just starting out
    • The obligations include…
      • General requirements under consumer law
      • Distance selling rules
      • eCommerce regulations
      • Data protection
      • Corporate compliance
    • General requirements of consumer law
      • Under consumer law:
      • Products or services for sale must be of a certain standard
      • What you say about them must be true
      • You must treat consumers fairly
      • In Ireland, these general requirements are contained in the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act and the Consumer Protection Act
    • Distance selling
      • Specific rules also apply to "distance selling”
      • This is where you take orders remotely from consumers (rather than face-to-face in a shop, office, market etc)
      • Distance selling includes sales via your website, email, phone or fax
    • EU's distance selling rules
      • The distance selling regulations:
      • Apply to business-to-consumer transactions (but not business-to-business)
      • Specify certain information you must give consumers before the contract is enforceable
      • Allow consumers to cancel orders within a specific period, and require you to inform them how they can do this
    • In a nutshell…
      • … these rules give consumers additional protection on top of general consumer law
      • Your customers do not need to be given a physical agreement on paper to have a distance contract with you
    • Information requirements
      • Your ordering and delivery process must give visitors key information about:
      • Your business
      • Their order
      • The delivery costs involved
      • How to cancel
    • The cooling off period #1
      • In a physical shop … consumers don’t get an automatic “cooling off” period after buying goods/services
      • In online sales … a cooling off period for consumers is a major requirement
    • The cooling off period #2
      • During the cooling off period your customers can cancel their orders – without a reason
      • You must give them a "cooling off" period of at least seven working days
      • You also have obligations in situations where ordered goods/services are unavailable
    • Some goods and services are exempt
      • The cooling off period does not apply to:
      • Customised products (e.g. T-shirt with customer’s personal slogan on it)
      • Perishable goods
      • Accommodation (hotels, guesthouses etc) for specific dates
    • EU’s eCommerce regulations
      • Under eCommerce regulations you must give further specific information to customers
      • Some goods and services are excluded from the distance selling regulations , but the eCommerce regulations may still apply
      • For information requirements, see guides on NCA.ie
    • Data Protection Act
      • Your site will need a privacy statement if you collect personal data such as…
      • In order forms, feedback forms etc
      • Using cookies or other tracking
      • Users’ IP or email addresses
      • See Data Protection Commissioner’s site for details
    • Spam and unsolicited calls
      • Your staff have legal responsibilities in terms of “spam” – sending emails, text messages or direct marketing phone calls to people who: 
      • Are not already your customers or
      • Have not consented to be contacted by you in this way
    • Maximum penalties for spam
      • € 50,000 for an individual
      • € 250,000 or 10% of turnover for a body corporate
    • Corporate compliance
      • Under Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement rules, limited companies must give certain information on websites and in order forms (including ones sent by email):
      • Your company name
      • Company registration number
      • Registered office
    • Company registration details
      • Many websites give "footer" links at the bottom of their pages to a "Legal Information" or "Company Registration" type page with this corporate information
      • You don’t need to meet these requirements if you are a sole trader
      • But it is still good practice to reassure potential customers about your business status
    • Checklist for your online shop
      • Check whether your website meets the following five requirements…
      • 1. Does it provide key information before and during the ordering process, such as a geographical address?
      • 2. Does it give customers the option to cancel an order - and information on how to do this?
      • 3. Does it meet data protection requirements about the personal data you collect, how you use/store it?
      • Do your staff know the dangers of sending spam ?
      • 4. Does your site have a privacy statement ?
      • 5. Does it display company registration details (if you are a limited company)
    • For more information…
      • … check our Business Guides on NCA.ie