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The Distance Selling Regulations (DSR) were developed to protect consumers when shopping online or entering into contracts at a distance from the supplier. The reasoning behind the DSR is that the consumer does not have the benefit of meeting the supplier face-to-face or inspecting the goods or services for sale.
To comply with the Companies Act 2006, the Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 and the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002, all business websites must adhere to set rules, which makes them compliant with the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to have on your website under UK law.
The website for a UK registered business should display the Company information, including the business name, the place of registration, the registered number, the registered office address and details of any trade associations it may be a member of. For sole traders and partnerships, the address of the principle place of business must be displayed.
Recent changes in legislation mean that websites must require a user to consent to it leaving cookies on the user’s computer. This applies unless the cookie is a necessary requirement for the website to function (eg shopping basket cookies).
Visitors to a website can use the information published on it to the extent stipulated in the disclaimer. It is also recommended that the website owner does not accept any liability that may arise from using or downloading information from the website.
All website owners need to ensure their content is available to all users. For example, ensuring the site is accessible to the visually impaired. Failure to comply may be considered ‘unlawful disability discrimination’.
Terms & Conditions, and a Delivery & Returns Policy are all required as part of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations and Electronic Commerce Regulations (EC Directive). As part of these terms website owners should include the identity of the supplier and their address, a description of the service, the contract price (inclusive of taxes), any delivery costs, the payment and delivery agreement, notification of the users right to cancel, the cost of the means of communication by which the contract is to be concluded (eg premium rate telephone numbers), the period for which the terms are available and the minimum duration of the contract (if it is not a one-off sale)
To conform with EU Anti Spam laws, website owners must ensure that email lists are only of ‘opt-in’ email addresses. Website owners should also always allow the recipient to ‘opt-out’ on all marketing emails.
If a website fails to comply with some or all of the rules above, it’s owners may be leaving themselves open to legal proceedings of either a civil or criminal nature.
For more information about making sure your website is meeting legal requirements why not get in touch on 01724 897 497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our design team would love to meet you and help with developing your brand and marketing materials either online or in print.
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