Published on May 20th, 2014 | by admin

So You Want To Start Selling Online?

Becoming an online trader by using portals such as eBay is an increasingly attractive proposition to SME’s keen on making their first foray as an internet retailer.

But as well as registering a domain name, choosing a web hosting service, designing a website and choosing e-commerce software, setting up an ecommerce platform also means adhering to a number of rules and regulations which in some instances also apply to retailers on the high street.

Indeed the regulation within the sector is more complex than one might initially expect to encounter.  So where to start?

Firstly, it is imperative to adhere to the Consumer Protection Act 1987, The Sale of Goods Act 1979, and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is concerned with protecting the public by prohibiting the manufacture and supply of unsafe goods, making the seller of defective product responsible for damage it causes and also prohibiting misleading price indications.

Meanwhile the under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 enables consumers who enter into a contract for goods or services to be able to expect these to be supplied with reasonable care and skill.

In addition to these important pieces of legislation which apply to all retailers, there are also internet specific ones including the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002. Complying with this equates to ensuring customers have access to certain information about the business entity including the businesses’ name, plus both physical and email addresses. In addition the relevant VAT registration number must also be detailed.

Obligations within the Companies Act 2006 are similar to the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 in terms of company registration information but they don’t need to be displayed on every single web page.

Furthermore the Distance Selling Regulations and the E-Commerce Regulations cover information which must be provided to consumers including delivery details and cancellation rights.

Whilst there are clearly a number of important items of legislation which any budding online business owner must become familiar with, once these are addressed you’ll be a good deal closer to selling online enabling you to concentrate on mailing out all those orders .

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