Is Your Website Legal?

by Kidd Rapinet on August 5, 2008

In July, the EU announced the results of an EU-wide investigation into websites offering mobile phone services. Does your website comply with the law?

Philip Wild, a partner in Kidd Rapinet, says:
“The EU looked at websites that included ring-tones and wallpapers. This was part of a new policy of doing ‘sweeps’ – widescale checking of compliance with EU law in areas where consumers may be damaged. It is also a useful warning to companies who may not be fully compliant particularly with the new Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The investigation looked at more than 500 websites across the 27 Member States, Norway and Iceland and found that 80% of the sites checked needed to be further investigated for suspected breaches of EU consumer rules. Many of the websites target children and young people.

Problems found included: unclear price information where prices are incomplete, did not include taxes or customers were unaware that they were signing up to a subscription. Large numbers of websites did not provide some of the required contact information about the trader. Other problems relate to misleading information where key information is hidden in very small print or hard to find on a website or the word ‘free’ is used to mislead consumers into long-term contracts. The breaches were found to vary in the degree of seriousness”.

Does your website show the statutory information that it must under the latest Companies Act regulations? It must give corporate information such as your company number, if a company. It should also comply with the electronic commerce regulations and must give contact details. If people pass their names and address or email addresses to you on the site, the site must also comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and probably ought to have a privacy policy relating to how data will be used.
Now is therefore a good time for UK traders to check compliance of their websites with EU law. Contact us for a quick check for ‘legal compliance’. Call or email Philip Wild (pwild@kiddrapinet.co.uk / 020 7925 0303) or Philip Astles (pastles@kiddrapinet.co.uk / 020 7925 0303).