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Consumer customers

Businesses can use terms and conditions to set out the provisions of transactions between consumers. They should cover all common terms that apply to transactions between you and your customers. These include conditions such as payment, liability and your returns policy. For terms to be legally binding you must bring them to the attention of your customers, whether that be online or on-premises. For more information, read Terms and conditions.

Businesses selling to consumers have to comply with more regulations than those selling purely to businesses. There are various laws that relate to doing business with consumers. These include avoiding onerous terms or excluding liability in terms and conditions. Read more about consumer protection laws in Doing business with consumers.

Business customers

B2B businesses can also use terms and conditions to set out common provisions for business to business transactions, and again must be brought to the attention of your customers to be legally binding.

Businesses can also set out transactions in certain contracts such as a services agreement or sale of goods contract. Using a specific agreement per transaction allows you to tailor relevant provisions to each transaction which may be necessary especially in a business to business environment. Such provisions may include terms relevant to payment, liability, confidentiality and IP.

Online customers

If a business wishes to engage in e-commerce it must comply with certain regulations including the Electronic Commerce Regulations. They should also be aware of their duties under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. For more information, read Online business regulations.

Creating website terms of use (also called website terms and conditions) will help you comply with the Electronic Commerce Regulations. Website terms of use govern the use of a website by visitors and should contain various information such as details of the owner. Read more about Website terms of use.

Online businesses that handle personal electronic data and use tracking cookies can reassure customers that their data will be protected by using a Website privacy policy with an integrated cookie policy. Alternatively, you can create a separate Cookie policy

Data protection considerations

All businesses should be aware of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The DPA is the main legislation implementing the General Data Protection Regulations in the UK.

For more information read Data privacy and cookies, Data protection and Processing personal data.

Businesses processing personal data of their customers (including both business and consumer customers) must ensure that the data is:

  • used fairly, lawfully and in a transparent manner;
  • collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes;
  • adequate, relevant and its collection is limited to what is necessary;
  • accurate and kept up to date;
  • kept in a form that enables identification of data subject rights for no longer than is necessary;
  • handled according to the data protection rights of individuals;
  • kept secure and not transferred outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) without adequate protection.

From 25 May 2018, businesses who collect and process personal data must pay the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) a data protection fee unless they are exempt. To find out more about the data protection fee, see the guidance on the ICO's website.

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