Wednesday, 28 October 2009

E-Commerce and the Law

The distance Selling Regulations and the E-commerce Regulations

Distance Selling Regulations 2000

So what are the Distance Selling Regulations 2000, well, they are designed to protect a customer who is not physically present with the seller at the time of purchase. They cover purchases made via email and the internet, together with telephone and mail order, sellers on folksy must comply with these regulations.

They only apply to transactions between businesses and consumers (individuals acting outside the course of their business) and do not include business-to-business contracts and auctions. As sellers on Folksy, everyone is considered a business, and every buyer is to be considered a consumer, unless it is a sale between someone selling materials and another seller (if the buyer is a none seller they must be considered a cunsumer).

Under the Regulations, consumers have the right to:
• details in writing about the supplier and the terms of the transaction
• written confirmation of their orders
• further information, including a notice of cancellation rights, the complaints procedure, after-sales services and guarantees
• delivery within 30 days unless otherwise agreed

Consumers have a cooling-off period of seven working days in which to cancel the contract, starting from when the goods are received, without having to give a reason. If no details of the cooling-off period have been given by the supplier to the consumer, it is extended to three months.
The right to withdraw can be exercised by the consumer even after the goods have been delivered, or the services have been provided. The consumer is entitled to receive a full refund for a cancelled contract within 30 days.
There are some exceptions to these rights of cancellation, including:
• contracts for the provision of accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services, where these services are supplied on a specific date or for a specific period
• the sale of customised goods or perishable goods
• sealed audio or video recordings, or software, which has been opened
• sales by auction

So what should you do to comply. Do you post information about your terms and conditions in your profile, or should it be included under your heading.

Can you use the money you have been paid buy a consumer straight away or should you leave it until after the cooling of period.

Do you have some way of checking when the goods were delivered.

I will be looking at how we comply with the Regulations in a future Post

The E-Commerce Regulations 2002

The E-commerce Regulations came into force in August 2002. They implement the European E-Commerce Directive into UK law and one of their main aims is to ensure that electronic contracts are legally binding and enforceable throughout Europe.

The Regulations apply to businesses that:

Sell goods or services to businesses or consumers on the internet, or by email or Standard Messaging Service (SMS) ie text messages
Advertise on the internet, or by email or SMS
Convey or store electronic content for customers, or provide access to a communications network

Once again I'll be doing a future blog about compliance

Another Set of Rules we must all Live by as sellers is The Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act 1998 covers the handling of Personal Information about Individuals

This topic (Data Protection) requires several posts to cover it in detail, so keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming details

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