The law is doing its best to keep up to date with today’s technology but it is not easy!
Directive 97/7/EC on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts (Distance Selling Directive) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:31997L0007
Directive 2000/31/EC on certain legal aspects of information society services (E-commerce Directive), which both include information requirements with which website operators have to comply. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32000L0031
The Distance Selling Directive and the E-commerce Directive were implemented in the UK through the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/2334) (Distance Selling Regulations) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/2334/contents/made
and the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2013) (E-commerce Regulations) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002/2013/contents/made
In November 2011 both the Distance Selling Directive and Directive 85/577/EEC, known as the Doorstep Selling Directive, were replaced by Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU) (Consumer Rights Directive). http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32011L0083
The Consumer Rights Directive has been implemented in the UK by the The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/3134) (Consumer Contracts Regulations) which come into force on 13 June 2014.
After 13 June 2014 then the Consumer Contracts Regulations will apply http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/contents/made
You must by law provide detailed information to all your shoppers and you must provide some form of cancellation which must be provided pre-contract and confirmed post-contract.
You must obtain your customer’s express consent to any charges which are payable in addition to the prices already ie gift wrapping.
Snapshot of key changes
Its not only bad PR but you will be in breach of contract and can be sued in the County Court. In addition the OFT and other consumer protection bodies are responsible for enforcing the requirements set out in the Distance Selling Regulations, the Consumer Contracts Regulations, the E-Commerce Regulations, the CPUT Regulations and the POS Regulations.. They have the right to make applications to the courts for enforcement orders (so-called “Stop Now Orders”) to prevent suppliers from infringing the provisions of the above regulations and other European consumer protection legislation. The courts may also order businesses and service providers to publish corrective statements with a view to eliminating the continuing effects of past infringements. The orders were originally governed by the Stop Now Orders (EC Directive) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/1422) but have now been subsumed into Part 8 of the http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/40/contents