What does the law require UK websites to show?
There is a range of information you are required to display, especially if you are a Limited company on all communications, this includes websites. Your web-designer/provider should have informed you of these when creating the website. As the business owner it is your responsibility and accountability if these requirements are not met and not your website provider that would face any fines.
Basic Company information
The gov.uk website lists the items a Ltd company must display:
On business letters, order forms and websites, you must show:
- the company’s registered number
- its registered office address
- where the company is registered (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
- the fact that it’s a limited company (usually by spelling out the company’s full name including ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’)
- If you want to include directors’ names, you must list all of them
- If you want to show your company’s share capital (how much the shares were worth when you issued them), you must say how much is ‘paid up’ (owned by shareholders).
What happens if you don’t display this information for a limited company?
The fine can run up to £1,000, which for something easily avoided seems like a sensible move!
The Cookie Law is a piece of privacy legislation that requires websites to get consent from visitors to store or retrieve any information on a computer, smartphone or tablet.
It was designed to protect online privacy, by making consumers aware of how information about them is collected and used online, and give them a choice to allow it or not.
The Information Commissioner’s Office gives clear advice on Cookies:
You must tell people if you set cookies, and clearly explain what the cookies do and why. You must also get the user’s consent. Consent can be implied, but must be knowingly given.
There is an exception for cookies that are essential to provide an online service at someone’s request (eg to remember what’s in their online basket, or to ensure security in online banking).
The same rules also apply if you use any other type of technology to store or gain access to information on someone’s device.
- We also recommend having your site on HTTPS to improve your appearance with Google, this is especially important given the changes to Google coming in 2017 which affect how your business is displayed.
- If you are selling items, you need to include “Terms and conditions of sale”, if those goods are electronic you must also provide recycling information to adhere to WEEE standards.
- If you send eMail newsletters those email lists must only be ‘opt-in’, and you must always provide ‘opt-out’ instructions on all marketing emails.
- All website owners must make sure their content is available to all users – for example the visually impaired – failure to comply may be considered ‘unlawful disability discrimination’. This should be included in the testing provided by your website creator/designer.
- If you are sending eMails to customer you may a disclaimer along the lines of “If you’re not the recipient please delete this email”. Take a read of this article to decide, like we have, that they are pointless and actually send a bad message to your customers http://www.out-law.com/page-5536
So now its my turn for a disclaimer.
The above advice is the usual minimum for most companies, your specific industry or service may need to meet other requirements so always check with a legal professional.