E-commerce Contracts and Compliance: Guidance from E-commerce Attorneys
Over the past few decades, the landscape of commerce has undergone a revolutionary transformation with the advent and exponential growth of e-commerce. In this digital era, people increasingly prefer the convenience and accessibility of online platforms, contributing to the rise of e-commerce. E-commerce attorneys, skilled at navigating a diverse range of internet transactions, help ensure businesses’ continued growth and success in this dynamic environment.
While e-commerce has created countless business opportunities, it has also led to changes in the legal framework surrounding these transactions. Doing business over the Internet, by its very nature, is multi-jurisdictional – and a failure to comply with regulations can be costly to your business in the long run.
Why Is Compliance Crucial?
Compliance isn’t only the concern of e-commerce attorneys. It affects every aspect of businesses that operate in electronic spaces. Non-compliance can affect customer confidence, vendor availability, and the reputation of your business. It can also affect your ability to recruit quality talent. In dire cases, your license to operate can be revoked. If your business is not compliant, you also risk the possibility of lawsuits or even criminal charges.
Adherence to the legal requirements of e-commerce is therefore not a suggestion but a must, whether your business is a global entity or a small business. Those businesses that successfully comply with e-commerce regulations rarely get talked about. However, those who fail to adhere often get highlighted on the front pages of the news.
Universal E-commerce Regulations to Consider
While regulatory frameworks differ across industries, some regulations are common for e-commerce regardless of industry. They include:
Payment Card Industry Compliance
The safety of client card information is critical when engaging in e-commerce transactions. Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance deals with security standards implemented to handle debit and credit card transactions. PCI compliance ensures that the security of customer information is a priority at all times. It covers transactions done online and at point-of-sales devices.
General Data Protection Regulation
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), established by the European Union in 2018, covers the processing of private information across the union. GDPR also applies to companies outside the European Union that conduct e-commerce transactions with clients living on the continent. It imposes strict rules on processing consumers’ personal and card information.
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
Federal Trade Commission Compliance
Many businesses in the e-commerce space utilize affiliate marketers and influencers to increase awareness of their products. If you employ these methods to increase sales of your products, you need to be aware of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations. According to the FTC, influencers and affiliate marketers must disclose when they have a financial partnership with businesses, especially when posting sponsored content. Failure to comply with FTC regulations can cost your business hefty fines.
Shipping & Customs
E-commerce allows you to reach customers worldwide. That means your products may be shipped across state and international borders. Before doing so, you must understand what you can or cannot move across borders through the available shipping providers. Your business must also comply with the FTC’s Mail, Internet or Telephone Order Rule, which requires you to use fair shipping practices.
Are You Looking for a Skilled E-commerce Attorney?
Navigating the changing e-commerce landscape can be tricky, but an e-commerce attorney can help you avoid fines and penalties. The team at RM Warner Law is here to help you achieve your goals with a personalized plan.