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5 Essential Documents You Need When Trading Online

November 19, 2015

What legal documents do I need for my website and what are the main legal considerations for my business when trading online?
In this blog, we consider the legal documents that businesses need to put in place when they are setting up a website. We also consider the main legal issues that a business needs to consider when setting up a website.


1.     Terms and conditions of trading

If you are selling your goods and/or services from a website, then you will need to have your terms and conditions set out on the website. It is helpful to include an easily printable set of the terms and conditions for your customers to print out.  We also recommend that you ask your customers to tick a box to confirm that they have read your terms and conditions and agree to them before they purchase any goods or services. This is to make sure that the terms are binding on your customers.

Even if you are not selling goods or services from your website, it is a very good idea to have a copy of your terms and conditions of trading on your website. Your terms and conditions can help protect your business as they set out your obligations to your customers and should include key terms relating to items such as delivery, timescales for delivery, returns policies, warranties and guarantees. They should also state your payment terms, limitation of liability terms and the law that will govern your contract.

2.     E-Commerce Regulations and Consumer Contract Regulations

As a business you are required to provide certain information to website users under the E-Commerce Regulations and the Consumer Contract Regulations. There are a number of key information items that need to be provided under both sets of Regulations and importantly you need to give a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period to customers and refunds must be given within 14 days of due cancellation.

3.     Website usage terms and conditions, Acceptable Use and Cookie Policy

These terms contain key information for those who are accessing your website. These terms again can protect your business as they detail the limits of your responsibilities for users of your website such as the website not being available, liability for viruses and also what your customer is allowed to do on the website.  You should also include an Acceptable Use Policy which makes it clear to users that they must not copy or recreate the site, break any laws, send spam or add contributions to the website which infringe copyright or breach anybody else’s rights and a Cookie Policy which will explain to your website visitors how you use their cookies.

4.     Privacy policy

The privacy policy is an important document as it explains to your customers and website users about what personal data is being collected, how it is going to be used and where the data will be stored and who will have access to it. As a business you need to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 (‘DPA’). The privacy policy explains to customers how you are complying with the DPA.

5.     Website development agreement

You need to make sure that you put in place a website development agreement with your website developer. This document will set out key obligations in relation to the development of the site, timescales, costs and who owns the source code and intellectual property in the website.

This blog briefly summaries the key documents and main legal issues that you need to consider when setting up your website. For more information, explore our range of business document templates or please contact LawBite.
Annelie Carver – LawBite LawBrief. For further legal advice you can contact Annelie via our online legal advice portal.