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How to comply with E-Commerce Laws and Regulations

Laws and Regulations

Online Business

Setting up your business on the Internet can be a lucrative way to attract customers, expand your market and increase sales. View SBA's free Online E-Commerce Course to learn how to build a website and manage an online business. For the most part, the steps to starting an online business are the same as starting any business. However, doing business online comes with additional legal and financial considerations, particularly in the areas of privacy, security, copyright, and taxation.

Rules and regulations for conducting e-commerce apply mainly to online retailers and other business that perform consumer transactions by collecting customer data. However, even if you do not sell anything online, laws covering digital rights and online advertising may still apply to you.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the primary federal agency regulating e-commerce activities, including use of commercial e-mails, online advertising and consumer privacy. FTC's E-Commerce Guide provides an overview of e-commerce rules and regulations.

The following topics provide further information on how to comply with laws and regulations related to e-commerce.

  • Protecting Your Customers' Privacy
    Learn the necessary steps you should take to protect your customers from identity theft and other misuses of their personal information. Any business that collects personal or financial data either through online sales, credit reports or applications should understand these rules and regulations.
  • Collecting Sales Tax Over the Internet
    Information for online retailers on the rules and regulations for collecting sales and use taxes from your customers.
  • Selling Internationally / Exporting
    The Web has allowed a greater number of retailers to participate in the global economy. However, if you are going to ship your products overseas, you need to be familiar with some basic exporting rules and regulations.
  • Online Advertising and Marketing
    If you own an online store or buy ads on the Internet, you should be aware of the rules and regulations that ensure online advertising is fair and truthful.
  • Digital Rights / Copyright
    All online retailers and information services should understand basic rules of copyright when conducting business online.

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