Legal Regulations for eCommerce Businesses in the EU

December 6, 2023
5 min read

Ecommerce Legal Requirements in the EU

All eCommerce businesses operating in the European Union (EU) must adhere to specific legal regulations. Understanding and complying with these legal rules ensures companies' smooth operation and promotes consumer confidence in the digital marketplace.

The EU has implemented a comprehensive framework of regulations to ensure consumer protection, data privacy and fair competition in the digital marketplace. However, it is important to note that eCommerce policies in the EU may vary from country to country.

Understanding EU eCommerce legislation can be overwhelming, especially for those new to the market. Fortunately, we are here to help. In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about European legislation for eCommerce. With our assistance, you will navigate the legal landscape confidently, avoiding any accidental breaches of rules and potential penalties.

EU eCommerce Legislation Explained

One of the most significant regulations on data protection and privacy in the EU is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018 and aims to protect the personal data of EU residents. What the document means for eCommerce businesses is that their customers have the following rights:

  • The right of access: customers must be able to access information about how their data is used.
  • The right to data portability: if they wish to do so, customers can transfer their data from one company to a different one.
  • The right to erasure: if a customer wants all their data removed from a business’s database, the company must obey.
  • The right to be informed: customers need to be informed that a business will collect and retain their data and must consent.
  • The right to rectification: customers have the right to have their data updated if they find it outdated or incorrect.
  • The right to restrict processing: customers can request not to have their data processed despite their records staying in the system. 
  • The right to object: customers can choose not to have their data processed.

The failure to respect the above can lead to businesses being fined up to €20 million or 4% of their annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year, depending on which one is more. 

Another important piece of legislation is the Electronic Commerce Directive. It establishes the legal framework for online services and electronic business transactions in the EU. The Electronic Commerce Directive outlines rules regarding online contracts, electronic signatures and the liability of intermediaries such as online marketplaces and platforms. 

Under the Electronic Commerce Directive, eCommerce businesses must provide certain information to consumers, including their identification, contact details, and any relevant professional licences or registrations.

Finally, eCommerce businesses in the EU must obey the EU competition law, which was developed to ensure fair competition. Anticompetitive behaviours that are banned by this law include using unfair pricing, abusing market dominance or attempting to deceive buyers. Online marketplaces must adhere to competition rules and treat customers and other businesses fairly. 

Ecommerce Rules in EU Countries

Although the legislation discussed above outlines the general rules eCommerce companies in Europe must adhere to, member states can implement their own legislation within the framework of EU directives. Here are the most important eCommerce regulations in each EU country:


  • Merchants must give customers the right to return purchased products within 14 days without any specific reason. 
  • Ecommerce businesses must comply with the Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations and charge the appropriate VAT rate based on the type of goods or services sold.
  • Sending unsolicited commercial emails is not allowed without the recipient's prior consent. 


  • Consumers can return products bought online within 14 days without giving a reason. 
  • Online sellers must adhere to laws that prohibit unfair commercial practices, such as misleading advertising, aggressive sales techniques or hidden charges.
  • Ecommerce businesses must respect intellectual property rights, including trademarks, copyrights and patents.


  • Sellers must comply with the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA), which regulates various aspects of online business transactions.
  • Companies engaging in cross-border eCommerce activities within the EU must adhere to additional regulations, such as the EU Distance Selling Directive.
  • Online businesses are required to issue detailed invoices for each transaction and provide customers with the option to receive paper or electronic copies.


  • Online businesses must clearly display their company name, registered address and contact details on their website.
  • Ecommerce companies must offer secure payment methods to customers, such as credit card payments, PayPal or other recognised electronic payment systems.
  • Sellers should ensure that their websites are accessible to individuals with disabilities.


  • Ecommerce activities are governed by the Electronic Commerce Law of 2004.
  • Online sellers are required to provide accurate and transparent information about their products or services, including prices, product descriptions and delivery terms.
  • Ecommerce companies must clearly outline the terms and conditions of sale, including return policies and warranty information.

Czech Republic

  • Companies must obtain explicit consent from users before collecting or processing their personal information. 
  • Ecommerce businesses must implement appropriate security measures to protect customer data.
  • Sellers must provide transparent information about the ordering process, payment methods, delivery terms and any additional costs.


  • The Danish Consumer Contracts Act outlines rules for distance contracts.
  • Although there are no specific regulations in Denmark regarding payment methods, businesses must ensure the security of all transactions.
  • Online businesses must not use misleading advertising.


  • Estonian eCommerce companies may be subject to Electronic Identification and the Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Act, which regulates electronic identification and trust services, including electronic signatures, seals, timestamps and electronic documents.
  • Companies must use secure payment methods. 


  • Digital sellers must be transparent about how they collect and use data.
  • The Consumer Protection Act in Finland applies to eCommerce companies and safeguards consumer rights in online transactions. 


  • The French Consumer Code (Code de la consommation) governs consumer protection in eCommerce transactions. It covers buyer rights, distance selling, information requirements and dispute resolution.
  • Online platforms must facilitate the reporting and removal of illegal content.
  • Ecommerce websites must display clear information on prices, shipping costs and return policies.


  • Online sellers must provide clear information about the product, price and terms of the contract before the customer makes a purchase.
  • Ecommerce websites must include easily accessible information about the service provider, their contact details and their legal information.


  • Consumers must be offered a 14-day cooling-off period to withdraw from a contract.
  • Ecommerce companies must obtain explicit consent before processing personal data and must implement appropriate security measures.


  • Intermediaries, including online marketplaces, are not liable for the content or legality of the products or services offered by third-party sellers.
  • Sellers must provide accurate information about the goods or services they offer, the price and the terms of the contract.


  • The Consumer Protection Act 2007 provides protection to consumers in online transactions, including unfair commercial practices, misleading advertising and product safety standards.
  • Ecommerce businesses must comply with VAT regulations, including registering for VAT, charging the appropriate rates and submitting VAT returns.


  • The Consumer Code regulates consumer rights, including information requirements, cancellation rights, warranties and dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • The Italian Data Protection Code supplements the GDPR with additional provisions on data protection and privacy rights specific to Italy.


  • Sellers are obliged to provide comprehensive pre-contractual information to buyers.
  • If eCommerce businesses provide payment services, they must adhere to the Payment Services Regulations, which regulates electronic payments, payment service providers and related security measures.
  • Ecommerce businesses must comply with competition regulations, such as ensuring fair and transparent business practices.


  • Buyers have the right to withdraw from the contract within a specific timeframe.
  • Ecommerce businesses must respect intellectual property rights, including copyrights and trademarks. The unauthorised use of copyrighted materials or trademarks can result in legal consequences.


  • E-commerce Law regulates online contracts, consumer protection, information requirements and liability of eCommerce service providers.
  • Ecommerce businesses must adhere to advertising and marketing regulations, ensuring that their promotional activities are not misleading.


  • Ecommerce businesses in Malta are subject to relevant tax laws, including VAT regulations. 
  • The Electronic Communications Act governs electronic communications services in Malta, including rules about unsolicited commercial communications and electronic marketing.


  • Ecommerce businesses must establish a legal entity, such as a sole proprietorship or a private limited company.
  • Companies must clearly state shipping costs, delivery times and any restrictions related to international shipping. 


  • Ecommerce companies must register with the National Court Register (Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy) and provide accurate information about their company, including contact details and registration number.
  • Ecommerce businesses in Poland must establish a legal entity, such as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company.


  • Consumers have the right to withdraw from a purchase within 14 days.
  • Ecommerce businesses should provide information about their dispute resolution process and offer accessible ways for customers to submit complaints.


  • Ecommerce businesses are expected to ensure that their eCommerce platforms and websites are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Companies must register with the National Office of Trade Registry.


  • Ecommerce companies should provide tracking information and ensure timely delivery of products.
  • Sellers must obtain consent for sending commercial communications and provide recipients with an opt-out mechanism.


  • Ecommerce companies must register their business as a legal entity with the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services (AJPES).
  • Online sellers must comply with the Slovenian Advertising Code, which regulates advertising practices, including online advertisements and promotions.


  • Ecommerce businesses must comply with the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users (LGDCU), which establishes consumer rights, fair business practices and regulations regarding distance selling.
  • They must also comply with the Spanish eCommerce act called Law of Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce (LSSI), which regulates electronic contracting and online services.


  • Online sellers must register their business with the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket) and obtain a Swedish organisation number (organisationsnummer).
  • Ecommerce companies must comply with the legal requirements for business formation, such as choosing an appropriate legal structure.
  • Businesses must safeguard customer payment data and use secure payment gateways to protect against fraud.

Streamline Your EU Fulfilment with Bezos

If you run an eCommerce business in the EU, efficient order fulfilment is crucial. As all the regulations can be overwhelming, you should consider getting the assistance of a professional fulfilment provider. This is where Bezos comes in - we will not let the complexities of EU regulations hold you back!

As an experienced and reliable fulfilment service, we can help you understand the web of legal rules and overcome any logistical challenges. By leveraging advanced technology and a vast network of fulfilment centres across the EU, we help European eCommerce companies grow. 

If you sell products across Europe, we can deliver them quickly and at affordable prices. Your items will be dispatched from fulfilment centres closest to the customers to ensure prompt delivery. Regardless of how multinational your customer base is, we can help you effectively respond to their needs. Thanks to our AI-based system, you can optimise your inventory distribution, ensuring you have enough stock in each location.

Speak to an expert, choose Bezos as your European fulfilment partner, and start saving money and effort.


Understanding and complying with EU eCommerce legislation is crucial for businesses to operate successfully. While the EU has general rules that apply to eCommerce companies in all member states, each country also has their own regulations. 

Working with a third-party fulfilment provider like Bezos can help you ensure compliance with legal requirements, protecting your customers’ data privacy and taking the stress away from your operations. By partnering with Bezos, you can optimise your EU fulfilment processes, cut delivery times and improve customer satisfaction. 

Get a free quote today and get onboard!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is EU eCommerce legislation?

EU eCommerce legislation refers to the set of legal rules regulating eCommerce companies operating in the European Union (EU). It encompasses laws related to consumer protection, data privacy, fair competition and electronic payments. Adhering to these regulations is essential for eCommerce companies to avoid penalties and promote competition. 

What is the General Data Protection Regulation?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a data protection and privacy law that the European Union implemented in May 2018. Its purpose has been to protect the personal data of EU residents and ensure that customers know how businesses collect, use and store their data. 

Under the GDPR, businesses must obtain consent from individuals before obtaining and processing their personal data. Failing to comply with the GDPR can result in financial penalties of up to €20 million or 4% of the company’s annual global turnover, whichever is higher. The GDPR is binding in all EU member states. 

What is the EU definition of eCommerce?

The EU defines eCommerce as the buying and selling of goods and services carried out online. This includes various online transactions, including purchasing physical products, digital goods and services, as well as online advertising, electronic contracts and electronic payments.

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