Policies for the company website: which ones and who needs them

If your foreign company offers goods or services on its website, and even if it uses it solely as a platform for publishing news, it is important to have all the necessary documentation for the legal and safe operation of this platform. It is not just a recommendation but a critical element to ensure company protection and compliance with international laws. Some companies work without these documents, but, as a rule, this lasts until the first dissatisfied client or inspection by a regulatory authority.

We will share recommendations on the key documents that are essential for each site. Our offerings are based on two important European regulations: the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the EU Cookie Law (E-Privacy Directive). These regulations are mandatory for all companies serving clients from the EU, UK, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, which is relevant for almost all foreign companies.

We emphasize that the specific set and content of documents depend on the type of company, the business's characteristics and the website's content. Although there are automated services for generating such documents, they often do not consider the unique details of a particular case, which can later lead to disputes, conflicts and complaints. Therefore, the development of these documents should occur individually for each case.

The three main reasons why it is necessary to have appropriate legal policies are:

1) Legal Requirement: Violating international data protection laws will inevitably result in significant fines and penalties. For example, Europe's GDPR strictly regulates personal data processing.

2) Protection from lawsuits: A clear and transparent offer with detailed terms of service will protect you from lawsuits and costly litigation in case of customer disputes.

3) Reputation and loyalty among the audience: when users see that a company takes the protection of their personal data seriously and has clear rules of responsibility, this significantly increases trust in the brand.

Having examined the risks associated with the lack of necessary documents on a website, let's discuss what specific policies are required for various types of websites of foreign companies.

1) Informational sites without data collection: if your site is purely informational and does not collect user data, it is recommended to have at least the Terms of Use. They help limit your liability and protect your intellectual property by setting expectations for users' interaction with your site.

2) Sites that collect contact information: if your site has feedback forms or offers registration with the entry of personal data, in addition to the Terms of Use, a Privacy Policy is required. It should include information about how and why personal data is collected, how users can change or opt out of it, and your policies regarding "do not track" and disclosure of data to third parties.

3) Sites using cookies: if your site uses cookies, a Cookies policy will be issued that includes information about the types of cookies used, how data is collected, and how users can refuse certain cookies.

4) Sites selling services or goods: if your site allows you to make purchases, you must have a Public Offer, Refund Policy and Disclaimer. A public offer functions as a contract between you and the buyer, while a return policy and disclaimer help manage customer expectations and limit legal liability.

5) Financial Sites: it is also important to have anti-money laundering (AML) compliant policies for sites involved in financial transactions.

You must develop appropriate documents for each feature if your site fits the above types. Each policy plays a unique role in creating a secure and lawful online environment and requires a tailored approach and regular updates to keep up with changing legal requirements and your customers' needs.

By contacting Antwort Law, you will receive specific assistance in the following areas:

  • Developing specialized legal documents: creating accurate and tailored documents that meet the specifics of your site and legal requirements;
  • Compliance Consulting: Provides up-to-date information on legal requirements in your and your clients' countries, including GDPR, cookie policy and other regulations;
  • Prevention of legal risks: prevention of potential legal problems related to violation of data confidentiality, copyright and other areas;
  • Regular documentation updates: keeping your legal documents up to date with the latest changes in legislation.

These services will help you minimize risks and provide reliable protection for your online business. Antwort Law lawyers will be happy to assist with the legal security of your corporate website.

Lidia Ivanova

International Lawyer
Antwort Law

What basic documents do you recommend having on the website of a foreign company?
The following documents are suitable for most foreign companies: Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Cookies Policy, Public Offer, Refund Policy, Disclaimer and, where appropriate, anti-money laundering (AML) policies.
What documents are required for a site that does not sell services or goods, but only collects contact information from users?
In this case, we recommend having at least a Terms of Use and a Privacy Policy.
What happens if there are no legal documents on the website of a foreign company?
This may result in significant fines and penalties under international law. For example, if your clients may be residents of the European Union, then violation of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation - the main European document regulating this area) entails fines.
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