What legal aspects must an online store comply with?

Miguel Ángel Culiáñez

Written by Miguel Ángel Culiáñez

What legal aspects must an online store comply with?Creating an online store is an attractive and exciting project, but we must take into account many aspects if we want our e-commerce to see the light in optimal conditions and grow without limits. In this regard, one of the main points to be addressed will be compliance with all the requirements established by current legislation.

To comply exactly with all the legal aspects marked by the law is not only a question oriented to overcome a mere bureaucratic procedure with the intention of avoiding any type of sanction on the part of the public administrations, but it is something that we must assume as obligatory in order to offer the maximum confidence to our buyers.

Scrupulously complying with the legal requirements will make our online store be seen by our public as a trustworthy site.

E-commerce is now part of our daily reality, but there are still significant barriers in the eyes of consumers. These are barriers that can lead consumers to think twice about whether or not to complete their purchase in our online store. In this sense, scrupulously complying with the legal requirements will make our online store be seen by our public as a trustworthy site, thus favoring sales.

Specifically, every online store must be governed by three main laws:

Retail Trade Management Law

Online stores must be governed by the articles relating to distance selling in the Retail Trade Law, which mainly cover the legal aspects affecting retail sales “without the simultaneous physical presence of the buyer and seller”.

Some of the most important points to consider in relation to this law are the following:

  • Delivery and paymentterms: we usually inform our buyers of the estimated delivery period from the time the purchase is made (the shorter the delivery period, the more attractive our offer will be). However, we must be aware that, in the event that we have not stipulated a delivery period, we are required by law to deliver the product within amaximum period of 30days.
  • Information from the seller and his offer: the law expressly refers to the duty to inform the buyer in a clear and comprehensible manner of at least the following information:
    a) Identity of the supplier.
    b) The characteristics of the product offered.
    c) Price of the product and transportation costs (if any). These should be specified separately.
    d) Form of payment, as well as delivery or performance modalities.
    e) Seller’s registered address and at least one of its physical establishments, if any.
    f) In the event that credit or installment payments are offered, the terms and conditions should be disclosed.
    g) Document of withdrawal or revocation of the purchase.
  • Right of withdrawal: in 2014, the return period was increased from 7 to 14 calendar days, without the seller being able to demand any penalty. The withdrawal period shall start from the date of receipt of the product by the purchaser.

LSSI (Law of Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce)

Legality of online storesPossibly, the LSSI is one of the most relevant laws to take into consideration if we want to avoid that our online store can suffer the slightest sanction, as well as to offer the maximum guarantees to our public in terms of data protection and privacy.

The LSSI coincides with the Ley de Ordenación del Comercio Minorista regarding the duty of information. Specifically, this law indicates that we must keep accessible to our visitors and potential buyers, at least, the following data:

a) Name or corporate name.
b) Commercial registry number.
c) NIF or CIF.
d) Registered office.
e) Contact information: email, telephone or fax…

In relation to the contracting process, an interesting aspect to take into account is the duty to send an acknowledgement of receipt by e-mail within 24 hours after the purchase and/or to send a confirmation to the buyer on the correct reception of the order. This must be done by a means equivalent to that used in the contracting process, provided that the confirmation message can be archived by the user and sent immediately.

Another section of special interest contained in the LSSI is the one referring to the cookies policy, since it is currently mandatory to inform about the use of cookies. In addition, the user must be able to accept the installation of cookies if we wish to comply with the law.

Many e-commerce platforms incorporate aids to facilitate compliance with the cookie policy. For example, if our store is created under the WordPress open source platform, we can find at our disposal a multitude of plug-ins designed to automatically display the notice of the use of cookies.

LOPD (Organic Law on Data Protection)

In the vast majority of e-commerce, a certain volume of personal data is handled on a daily basis, and any company that stores such personal data of third parties must follow the provisions of the LOPD. By personal data we mean all data that can identify a natural person.

There are several levels in relation to the type of data collected. Most online stores belong to the basic or medium level. In the first case, we will only store basic identification data (name, surname, ID, address, telephone, signature, e-mail, etc.). We will be included in the medium level if we collect, among other things, financial data such as an account or credit card number. It should be noted that in the case of payment methods such as Paypal or gateways such as RedSys, it will be these companies that store the financial information, and not us.

Any company that stores personal data of third parties must follow the provisions of the LOPD.

If we do indeed collect and store data from third parties through our online store, we should register our files with the General Data Protection Register. We should also inform in our store about the specific data collected, the possibility of access, rectification, cancellation or opposition enjoyed by the buyer, as well as our purpose in storing such information. Of course, we must scrupulously comply with the duty of secrecy and security.

In short, making our online store comply with the law is very simple and it is in our hands. By doing so, we will not only be safe from administrative sanctions, but we will also offer our public a certain degree of peace of mind and a sense of confidence that can help us maximize sales.

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Miguel Ángel Culiáñez
Miguel Ángel Culiáñez
Former responsible for business development at Human Level. Graduated in Business Science and Advertising and Public Relations. Specialist in marketing and e-commerce.

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