UK Law Changes | Website Requirements

02/02/2007

Hi People,

It seems that many UK websites and companies may be in breach of a new UK law, which came in on the 1st of January 2007. It seems it is an update on the UK law that companies should have their address and registration details on their letterhead. This idea is now carrying across to electronic media including emails and websites.

Whist surfing recently I came across this from out-law.com, the following is the minimum information that must be on any company’s website:

Required Information On Websites in the UK

The name, geographic address and email address of the service provider. The name of the organisation with which the customer is contracting must be given. This might differ from the trading name. Any such difference should be explained – e.g. “XYZ.com is the trading name of XYZ Enterprises Limited.”

It is not sufficient to include a ‘contact us’ form without also providing an email address and geographic address somewhere easily accessible on the site. A PO Box is unlikely to suffice as a geographic address; but a registered office address would. If the business is a company, the registered office address must be included.

If a company, the company’s registration number should be given and, under the Companies Act, the place of registration should be stated (e.g. “XYZ Enterprises Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 1234567″)
If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number, should be provided.

If the business has a VAT number, it should be stated – even if the website is not being used for e-commerce transactions.
Prices on the website must be clear and unambiguous. Also, state whether prices are inclusive of tax and delivery costs.

So is your company at risk of breaking the law? Did you know of this new development?

What I am quite concerned about, is that as a design professional, designing websites and helping businesses with their communication materials on a regular, day to day basis, I was unaware of this and just simply stumbled upon it! To all those UK designers out there – did you now about this? Although we are not directly responsible for the content of a site we do have a lot of influence in advising clients and I was supprised that I didn’t have a clue about this! Am I the only one? Comments welcome…

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