Companies Act 2006, Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 and Business Names Act 1985

Every UK Company should list on its emails & website “in characters that can be read with the naked eye.”:

  • Registered Company name,
  • Company registration number,
  • Company place of registration (e.g. Scotland or England & Wales),
  • Company registered office address,
  • If the business has a VAT number, it should be stated – even if the website is not being used for ecommerce transactions.

Every UK Company should also list on its website:

  • If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number, should be provided,
  • Prices on the website must be clear and unambiguous. Also, state whether prices are inclusive of tax and delivery costs.

Sole traders and partnerships who carry on a business in the UK under a business name

i.e. when they use a business name that is not their own or one that uses all the names of the partners must also make certain website disclosures:

  • in the case of a sole trader, the individual’s name,
  • in the case of a partnership, the name of each member of the partnership,
  • in either case, in relation to each person named, an address at which the business can be contacted and have legal documents formally served on it,
  • If the business has a VAT number, it should be stated – even if the website is not being used for ecommerce transactions.


Emails should also give the receiver the option to ‘unsubscribe’ or ‘remove’ their data from the sender’s email database. This information should be stored by the sender in a separate file for record purposes.

Failure to comply with these requirements puts a company at risk of a fine of £1,000.


The 2003 Regulations implemented a European Directive – 2002/58/EC – which is concerned with the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector. In 2009 this Directive was amended by Directive 2009/136/EC. This included a change to Article 5(3) of the E-Privacy Directive requiring consent for storage or access to information stored on a subscriber or users terminal equipment – in other words a requirement to obtain consent for cookies and similar technologies.

Many websites use pop-ups for requesting permission to set cookies or alternatively it could be implied consent depending on the data being collected. A brochure site would probably just need implied permission while a website collecting health information would need full consent.

For an in-depth guidance, please read the ICO’s “Guidance on the rules on use of cookies and similar technologies” PDF.

The Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform

The Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform is provided by the European Commission to help you resolve disputes with your online customers without going to court. It can be used for any contractual dispute arising from online purchases of goods or services where the trader and consumer are both based in the EU or Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

If you trade online in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you have the following obligations in relation to the ODR platform. These obligations APPLY TO ALL ONLINE TRADERS whether they intend to use the ODR platform or not:

  1. You have to clearly provide your e-mail address on your website. Providing only an interactive contact form is not sufficient.
  2. You have to provide a link from your website to the Online Dispute Resolution platform This link has to be visible and easily accessible on the website.


Please note: The above advice is given freely as a guide only as we are not qualified to give legal advice. We strongly advise seeking professional legal advice to ensure compliance. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.