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Selling goods via online platforms

When your business sells goods online through a third-party website like an internet auction or marketplace, some special rules apply. This guide is designed to set out your legal obligations towards consumers under these circumstances. Many of the rules covered in this guide will apply whether you offer goods to a business or a consumer, whilst other rules apply only when selling to consumers. Please note different rules apply to contracts for the provision of services or digital products and are not covered here.

By registering with an online platform and using it to sell your products, your business does not automatically comply with the law requiring you to provide pre-contractual information or cancellation rights. It is your responsibility to make sure that all the requirements outlined in this guidance are fulfilled to help your business comply with the law, regardless of the platform you use.

This guidance will explain what information must be provided to potential buyers before a contract is made (i.e. prior to sale) and the rights that consumers have when purchasing your goods online, such as the right to cancel the contract without giving a reason within a specific timeframe. Whilst this document applies to most goods sold online, there are specific exemptions to these rules, which are listed further in this guidance.

Please note that this guide primarily covers laws regarding the specific obligations of traders selling on third-party websites. With any sale, online or otherwise, buyers can expect goods to be of 'satisfactory quality', 'as described', 'fit for purpose' and to comply with other trading standards laws such as those relating to product safety or unfair terms and commercial practices. Whilst these matters are mentioned below, their treatment is not comprehensive. Please consult our In-depth Guides for detailed guidance on these topics.

Main legislation

This guidance mainly covers the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCRs) but also refers to the following legislation:

  • Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (ECR)
  • Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Amendment) Regulations 2015
  • Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA)
  • EU Regulation (EU) 2018/302 on addressing unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers' nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market
  • Geo-Blocking (Enforcement) Regulations 2018
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