How to run an online store legally correctly

How would a fine amounting to several thousand crowns influence the operation of your e-shop? And what if it had climbed to several hundreds of thousands? We will advise you on taking care of your business on the Internet so that you will not be in any such situation.


9 out of 10 e-shops face legal issues

There are tens of thousands of e-shops on the Czech market.  Only some of them have everything well arranged as for law questions.  This is also known by the Czech Trade Inspection, which regularly focuses its attention to eshop opertors. When they find out that something is not in order, they do not fail to impose a fine. Only in 2015, e-shop operators paid more than CZK 4,000,000 for fines. Also alarming are numbers from the end of 2016. Only in Q3, the Czech Trade Inspection detected violations in 90% of cases when checking Czech e-shops.

To prevent violations of the law, we recommend you carefully read the important legislation that applies to your business.

Which legal documents should you read?

Many different laws relate to the topic how to run an e-shop legally correctly . For start, you should first read the following documents:

  • Civil code n. 40/1964 Coll.
  • Law n. 634/1992 Coll., on consumer protection (this is the most violated law at all, so be careful about it)
  • Law on Protection of Personal Data n. 101/2000 Coll.

The Czech Trading Inspection regularly finds offenses also in connection with the following documents:

  • Law n. 22/1997 Coll., on technical requirements for products
  • EU Regulation n. 1007/2011 on textile fiber names and related labeling of textile composition of textile products

However, e-commerce legislation is very broad and is constantly evolving. It is therefore ideal when you consult with a specialist who will warn you of possible shortcomings in time.

2 documents you need to prepare and publish in your e-shop

As an e-shop operator, you have an obligation to provide information to your customers. It is the preparation of two documents that you have to publish on the website. These are Terms and conditions and claim rules. The legislation then specifies which information should be heard in them. It is best if you leave the two documents prepared by a lawyer.

5 things you should pay extra attention to

1. Using someone else's video

E-shop owners often take videos of the products they sell from their suppliers without asking for permission. This is in itself problematic, but there is one more hitch. YouTube's largest video sharing site terms and conditions prohibit referral and sharing of videos for commercial purposes.  If you want to use someone else's content on your site, you should always consult it with the creator. And you should not broaden the audience that the video has on YouTube by linking. This means that if a record is not publicly available and can only be seen by a limited number of people (for example, after registration or for a fee), you should not use it at all.

2. Using someone else's  photos

Be careful when taking foreign photos.  Take care even when you take pictures with the appropriate license in the photo.  This is not a guarantee that you can freely use the photos. No photobank has the capacity to review the authors of each picture and the rights associated with it. It is therefore ideal, if you take pictures yourself. Only thus you can be sure, that no one will sue you. 

3. Non-publication of information on the possibility of withdrawal

If you do not specify how long the withdrawal period is on the website, the standard 14-day period is extended to 3 months. You should, therefore, have this information on the website, ideally in the form of an instruction on how to withdraw from the contract.

4. Omission of the privacy statement

Another duty you should definitely not neglect is the publication of a privacy statement.  You warrant that the personal data provided are confidential, serve only to perform the contract with the buyer and that you do not grant them any other party. This is also linked to the obligation to register an e-shop at the Office for Personal Data Protection.

5. Missing identification data

Another frequent deficiency, especially in newly established e-shops, is incomplete identification data. In addition to your payment and delivery details, ordering details and claim rules, you should always include your business identity (name and surname or name, registered office, ID, VAT ID, and registration details) on your website. All data should always be up to date.

HINT: Do you have all the legal issues in order? Congratulations! Now, just work on improving your wesite to enjoy more customers. Read our advice on how to promote your e-shop that will help you in your efforts.

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