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Tuesday, 3 April, 2001, 05:58 GMT 06:58 UK
E-tailers 'breaking law'

Few internet retailers surveyed had sought legal advice at start-up
Thousands of firms which trade over the internet are breaking the law, according to a report.

A survey of 300 businesses found that just 4% of firms had sought legal advice when setting up a web site and many were breaking provisions in the Data Protection Act.

And almost half those polled for the London Chamber of Commerce had no policy for staff use of e-mails.

"Many firms could be in for a nasty shock by failing to give themselves adequate legal protection when doing e-business," said the London chamber's acting chief executive Peter Bishop.

"Firms must act quickly to ensure they are complying with the law and are protected from the improper use of the internet by their own staff."

Web retailers were criticised by the Office of Fair Trading last month for ignoring customers' rights.

Impromptu surveys of so-called e-tailers revealed half of firms had no information on refund policies and seemed not to realise that online customers had the same rights as in conventional shopping.

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See also:

13 Mar 01 | Business
Web retailers 'breaking law'
18 May 00 | Business
The future of e-tailing
13 Nov 00 | UK Politics
'Cyber cops' plan unveiled
20 Feb 01 | Business
Credit card fraud rises by 50%
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