Is your website compliant? What information you need to include on your website to be compliant

Posted on: April 14th, 2022

Nearly every business has a website. Websites are a place to attract leads or prospects and showcase your business.

There are various legal issues that you need to consider to make sure your website is compliant with the law. These issues range from data protection, terms of sale, marketing, and intellectual property.

Key areas you need to ensure are covered include:

  • Are you displaying all the required specific information about your firm?
  • Are your terms and conditions appropriate for your business?
  • Does your privacy policy include all the required elements to meet current legislation?
  • Does your marketing and advertising comply with applicable laws?
  • Are you suitably protecting your intellectual property?

In a helpful article below we go into each of these points in more detail to help you understand the key requirements.

For further information, or if you would like any help please do get in touch.

 

What you need to know

Information requirements

Your business is legally required to clearly display specific information on your website such as full company name and registration number, as well as other details. It’s important to keep this information accurate to ensure compliance.  

Terms and conditions

There are different types of terms that your website should display, terms of use and terms of sale.

Your business should have terms of use on your website which explain the rules relating to how the website is intended to be used, any restrictions on site usage and, amongst other things, intellectual property ownership.

If your business is selling goods or services on the website, it is important that you also have professionally drafted terms of sale which form the contract between you and your customer.

If your business deals with other businesses, professionally drafted terms will ensure that your business is not exposed to any unnecessary risks. Alternatively, if your business deals with consumers, professionally drafted terms are essential because there are important consumer protection laws that you must comply with.  

Data protection and privacy notices

Your privacy notice will be the one of the first documents the Information Commissioner’s Office will look at if you are subject to an investigation or complaint.

It is easy to roll your eyes and lose interest when the UK GDPR is mentioned but how your business processes personal data and the internal policies that you have are vitally important, especially in light of recent regulatory decisions which have increased scrutiny in this area.

At a minimum, businesses that process personal data must have a privacy notice/policy on their website and ensure that websites users are given an opportunity to read it. If it has been a while since yours was last updated, then there is no time like the present for a review and refresh.

Consumer law

Consumers get a lot of love from the law and if your business sells goods or services to consumers, you must display clear information which communicates your position on cost, quality, refunds, returns and cancellations.

Marketing and greenwashing

Marketing and advertising are often light-hearted and fun mediums to engage with your target audience. It is an invaluable tool for developing your business but there are pitfalls in this area which could have a detrimental affect on your business if your website and adverts do not comply with applicable laws.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) may check to ensure that your marketing and adverts comply with relevant laws. It can be damaging to your business if the ASA conduct an investigation because they have received a complaint about misleading or inaccurate marketing.

It is common for businesses to promote environmentally sustainable practices because of the obvious appeal to consumers. However, your business should be wary of overstating any positive environmental impact of your products or services, also known as ‘greenwashing’. The Commercial and Intellectual Property team has previously published an article on what greenwashing is and the environmental considerations that businesses should be aware of which can be found here.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property can be incredibly valuable to your business. There are steps you can take to protect those proprietary assets and demonstrate that your business owns copyright or trade marks.

How can you get help?

If it has been a while since your website was last refreshed, a good starting point is to check what information you currently have displayed on your website and consider whether any of the points in this article are applicable to your business.

Coffin Mew’s Commercial and Intellectual Property team can also help with a review of your website and preparation of website compliance report. The report gives a compliance rating and suggests remedial actions, where appropriate.

For further information, or if you would like any help please do get in touch.