How is e-commerce regulated?
Managing an e-commerce site is an ongoing activity that differs from a traditional store because it has no physical space, but a web address. But, in any case, opening an online store involves a series of activities very similar to opening a normal business. However, the start of an e-commerce activity also involves a series of specific laws and rules.
With the spread of CMS (content management system), i.e. software tools, installed on a web server, it is now apparently easy and fast to open a website with e-commerce functionality.
Once the decision to open an e-commerce activity has been taken, it is necessary to inform oneself carefully about the bureaucratic requirements necessary for e-commerce, so as to be up to date and check-proof right from the start.
If you are working with e-commerce, you must be fully aware of the e-commerce regulations in force. In fact, ecommerce is not at all left to the discretion of the individual or abandoned to the web, indeed it is subject to a very complex discipline that finds its place in different regulatory sources. Because when we talk about “e-commerce regulation” there is always a lot of confusion that leads to really heavy fines or penalties.
It should also be remembered, as a general principle, to keep abreast of new laws, in order not to make mistakes, it is necessary to rely on a good accountant expert in e-commerce legislation.
The 7 legal requirements
Below are the 7 legal requirements that an online store must comply with and that every company should know perfectly to avoid the risk of incurring large penalties:
1. VAT departure
When you decide to open an online store, you must be aware that you must have a VAT number, except in cases where the activity you intend to carry out is purely occasional or the earnings are less than 5,000.00 euros per year. Once you have opened a VAT number, you will have to register in the Register of Companies, at the Chamber of Commerce. If, in addition to e-commerce, the merchant also has a physical store, please note that the registration can be made in the Separate Management. The VAT number is one of the information that must be present on the site and easy for the user to be aware of. It is necessary, given the complexity, that the merchant turns to an expert specialized in e-commerce for the choice of the most suitable legal form for the activity he intends to carry out.
2. General terms and conditions
There are national consumer protection laws that refer to the general terms and conditions. If the trader intends to introduce clauses, specific information and so on, these must always be specified in the general terms and conditions.
We strongly advise against copying them from other sites because they may not only be unsuitable for the trader’s business but may also be protected by copyright.
You must provide users with a clear illustration of how your personal data will be handled.
With the legislative decrees 69/2012 and 70/2012 it has been established the obligation to insert a banner when opening the website, with which the user is asked to consent to the processing of data, in order to be able to continue with the navigation. Consent must also be requested when you intend to share your customer’s data with third parties.
4. Terms and conditions of sale
By “terms and conditions of sale” is meant not only the legal information, such as the law that is intended to apply to the contract, but also all information concerning the right of withdrawal, how to return the goods, delivery times and costs of the goods and shipping. They may be modified, provided that the changes introduced apply only to subsequent purchases.
5. Methods of payment
It’s a good thing that the online merchant offers, among other things, the one without additional costs. If the merchant foresees the risk for the user to pay additional costs, he is obliged to make this known in the various steps leading to the acquisition and in the terms and conditions of sale.
6. Specify the information for withdrawal
It is very important to write the exact information on how to withdraw, as time and specify some clauses that protect the online seller from cunning customers. In addition, you must be careful because not only could you have to deal with some “disgruntled” customers, but you are also forced to return the amount of money spent including shipping.
7. Indicate the data to make your company recognizable
It is very important to write the exact information on how to withdraw, as time and specify some clauses that protect the online seller from cunning customers.
In addition, you must be careful because not only could you have to deal with some “disgruntled” customers, but you are also forced to return the amount of money spent including shipping.