As a business owner, you are required by law to provide certain information on your business website. This is governed by the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002.
A recent survey of 100 SME UK business websites revealed shocking results, over 72% of businesses fail to provide the minimal information.
What was even more shocking is that 13% of these websites were created by 3rd party web design companies. Surely these, professional design companies should be ensuring their clients business website are in compliance with current UK regulations.
Minimum information to be provided
Businesses, whether involved in e-commerce or not, should provide the following minimum information, which must be easily, directly and permanently accessible throughout their entire website:
- The name of the business must be given somewhere easily accessible on the site. This might differ from the trading name and any such difference should be explained – e.g. “YourBusinessName.com is the trading name of My Business Limited.”
- The email address of the business must be given. It is not sufficient to include a ‘contact us’ form without also providing an email address.
- The geographic address of the business must be given. A PO Box is unlikely to suffice as a geographic address; but a registered office address would. If the business is a company, the registered office address must be included in any event.
- If a company, the company’s registration number should also be given.
- If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number, should be provided.
- If the business has a VAT number, it should be stated – even if the website is not being used for e-commerce transactions.
- Prices on the website must be clear and unambiguous. Also, state whether prices are inclusive of tax and delivery costs.
In addition to these requirements you may also have obligations to provide additional information as part of the legal requirements of other laws. For example:
The Distance Selling Regulations
- If the business is a company, the Companies Act 2006 requires that the place of registration should be stated (e.g. “My Business Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 1234567“).