It is very tempting for companies to choose to extend their web sales beyond the UK, particularly when they see the benefit of selling to consumers on the continent. It is also quite common for companies to believe that, because they are situated in the UK, they don’t have to worry too much about laws in other countries. However, this is not always the case.
A recent court case dealt with an internet seller that imposed the law of its country of origin on any purchaser on its website. This was despite the fact that the website went beyond just being visible in other countries, but actively sought to get customers in those places to purchase products online. It is important to remember that while there is some European-wide law, many laws in a given country are specific to that country, and its courts.
It was concluded that it was unfair to use the company’s country’s laws as governing the contract, because it ignored the fact that consumers who benefit from consumer law protections in their home countries, which cannot be voided through private agreements, did not realise they could make use of their usual consumer laws in the event of a dispute with the seller.
In addition, the court concluded that the data processing laws applicable to the consumer’s data extended to the laws of any given consumer’s home country, as the seller was effectively establishing a presence in those countries for purposes of its internet sales.
When selling abroad, you should speak to lawyers before finalising your plans. At Woodfines, we can help you navigate these treacherous waters and can help you to consider the necessary terms of your business’ sales. For further information or advice, please contact John Yatchisin on 01234 270600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org