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International Law

If you have a web site, then whether you intend so or not, you may have to consider various aspects of international law. For the typical small business this will not be a big issue, unless you target some clearly contentious topics, products or markets. This is just as well, as a local lawyer may be reluctant to give legal advice about a foreign jurisdiction.

Some key points to be aware of (for a UK or other European site):

1) consumer law requires you (broadly speaking) to treat all European consumers as you treat consumers in your own European country

2) if you export goods from a European country to another you charge VAT (if you are VAT registered)

3) VAT is chargeable if the goods are physically delivered in Europe, it is not based on where the payee happens to be located

4)you can find out more about export regulations from your local Chamber of Commerce

5) you should clearly state in your terms & conditions, the jurisdiction (i.e.: your own) in which any sales agreement is made

6) US sites are not subject to such tight consumer protection and privacy laws. You may wish to point this out to your users, if you are a European based site.

7) you would be wise to treat non European consumers (in terms of guarantees, privacy etc) as you would local consumers

8) any sales to foreign countries may still be subject to the laws of those countries as well as your own.


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