Ecommerce Terms

When you sell goods or services online, you need ecommerce terms and conditions to govern your contractual relationship with buyers, and comply with website law. It is important to have the ecommerce terms carefully crafted for your business, and to instruct your web developers to have certain automated emails in place to protect your position.

What should be covered by ecommerce terms and conditions?

Website terms and conditions must take account of legal issues such as:

  • Rules surrounding ‘unfair contract terms’ contained in the Unfair Contract Terms Act
  • Rules which operate to add implied terms into contracts
  • The Distance Selling Regulations
  • Ecommerce law and regulations

Website contracts should cover consumer cancellation rights, as consumers are normally entitled to a ‘cooling off’ period during which they are free to change their mind and cancel their contract.

Unless your website terms and conditions are drafted to comply with ecommerce law you risk not complying with the regulations, so that the cancellation period is extended over a much longer period.

It is also important to ensure that any website contracts you enter into are concluded in your home country where feasible, and website contracts should also manage the risk of pricing errors.

In 2002, Kodak.com’s website priced a digital camera at £100 rather than £329, and over 1000 orders were placed before the problem was fixed. This led to significant losses, and bad publicity as a result of Kodak’s initial refusal to fulfil the orders.

Web law is wider than simply ecommerce law.  So, in addition to ecommerce terms your business will also need to ensure an adequate privacy policy is in place, as well as terms and conditions to govern use of the website.

What next?

For further help call us on +44 (0) 20 7700 1414.