It is undeniable that electronic commerce or E-commerce has now become a reality that has become part of our daily life in a profound way. Often, however, when the subject is addressed, one tends to consider the phenomenon only from a single point of view, that of the buyer and consumer, when instead it is obvious that everything is based on a mutual exchange between buyer and seller. Precisely the latter must comply with specific regulations in order to be able to sell, including some, such as the New Deal for consumer protection , which came into force recently. We will now go to see in detail what the new E-commerce 2021 regulation consists of and what it entails for sellers .

What is meant by E-commerce?

Before going into the details of the legal aspects, it is very advisable to start from the basics in order to provide a general picture of the situation as clear as possible.

E-commerce or electronic commerce essentially means the carrying out of a specific commercial activity in which the sale is carried out electronically thanks to the internet.

Going even further into detail, each commercial transaction performed is the result of the meeting between the buyer's demand and the seller's offer. These two figures can use the internet to implement an exchange process for the purchase and sale of goods or services. By virtue of what has been said, it is therefore easy to understand how E-commerce is a commercial activity in all respects and for this reason it requires specific requirements and legal and tax obligations in order to be operational according to the law.

Ecommerce Rules

The European legislation on E-commerce

According to the European directive on electronic commerce, the first point from which to start is to establish whether you are dealing with a B2B or B2C business.

The first term refers to the business to business method, in which a specific manufacturing company sells its products or services to a third company; The second term, on the other hand, refers to the business-to-consumer mode, in which the manufacturing company delivers its products or services directly to the final consumer.

It is obvious that these are clearly different realities, not only from a managerial point of view, but precisely from an implementation point of view.

This directive was issued in 2000 and establishes several fundamental points, including the obligation of the seller to provide all data relating to his company in a transparent and clear manner and the obligation to make commercial communications consistent with the reference company.

Obviously then there are some behavioral aspects that the manufacturer or seller must follow before concluding the sale and which directly involve the end user.

For example, the consumer must be very clear on the methods by which to submit a possible complaint and the solutions to resolve a possible dispute, or the possibilities existing during the ordering phase to be able to remedy a data entry error, or the phases exact requests before successfully concluding an order.

The controversy aspect is certainly noteworthy.

In fact, in order to be resolved, these often require the intervention of specific out-of-court settlement bodies and for this reason the European Regulation 524/2013 has founded a special body that deals with the resolution of disputes arising online.

The seller is obliged to provide this information on its platform.

E-commerce: The situation in Italy.

In Italy, in order to open a business operating online, it is necessary to follow certain steps, starting with the opening of a specific position at the Register of Companies through Single Communication.

Opening a position at this institution is nothing more than the compilation of a specific IT file containing all the necessary information required, as well as a summary prospectus.

The task of the Single Communication is to facilitate communications between companies and the Public Administration by ensuring that a single procedure is sufficient to comply with all the obligations established by law and to rectify the position towards entities such as the Agency. of the Revenue, the Chambers of Commerce, INPS and INAIL.

Obviously, in order to make your request for a Single Communication, it is essential to be in possession of specific requirements :

  • Subscription to the specific Telemaco service - Consultation and Submission of Practices, available completely free of charge on the Company Register website
  • Possession of a PEC email address in order to send and receive all required communications
  • Possession of the Digital Signature in order to be able to affix one's signature digitally with the same legal value as a classic handwritten signature.

Once all the requirements have been met, it is possible to send the Single Communication and proceed with the bureaucratic process necessary to open an E-commerce.

In summary, the steps to follow are :

  • Immediate registration in the Business Register
  • Opening of the VAT number
  • Registration with INPS or self-employed workers or employees
  • Insurance opening at INAIL
  • Legitimate communication of the start of the activity

Obviously, before considering opening your own E-commerce, it is necessary to be well aware of the various dynamics both from a legal and a fiscal point of view to avoid incurring penalties, even particularly high ones, capable of making the company shipwreck prematurely. entire project.

Specifically, the most basic regulations that it is important to know by heart are those that are part of:

  • Civil Code
  • Advertising communications
  • Business activity
  • Distance selling
  • Consumer Code

We will now focus on the latter, because it is a topic that will introduce us to the new 2021 regulation.

The Consumer Code

The Consumer Code and its dynamics are applied only when the E-commerce takes the form of B2C, that is, the sale in place is carried out through an exchange between the producer and the end user.

Obviously, the Consumer Code adapts perfectly to the guidelines already drawn up by the European Regulation and by the specific Law Decree 70/203 , however it adds further details useful for practical purposes, including:

  • The producer / seller must necessarily inform the user of all information relating to his business
  • The final cost of the product and service must be clear and accessible at every stage of the purchase. If there are additional costs related to shipping or taxes, appropriate communication will be made in a specific third space
  • All information relating to a specific service or product must be visible at all times, starting from the phase prior to the purchase, so that the customer has the possibility to consult it in depth and opt or not for the sale.
  • The manufacturer / seller must inform the end user of the possibility of exercising his full right to terminate the contract within a deadline of 14 days.
  • Any information relating to delivery must be clearly stated, it being understood that the manufacturer / seller undertakes personally to deliver the purchased item or service within a maximum of 30 days ., Unless extended by mutual agreement.

Obviously, if the right of withdrawal is exercised by the buyer by the set date, he is required to return the purchased good, while the seller / manufacturer undertakes to return the equivalent amount spent.

The Consumer Code, although extremely effective and exhaustive in its guidelines, has required over the years a further integration that would improve some aspects.

This is because, also thanks to the advent of digitization, today there are an exponential quantity of E-commerce platforms globally and for this reason it was necessary to review some rules to adapt them to modern times.

Among the most successful integrations there is certainly the New Deal which we will now go into in detail.

The New Deal

The New Deal for consumers was issued for the first time in early 2020 by the European Union as a response and necessary implementation to the current standards in which E-commerce has increasingly taken hold up to shape a new figure of consumer.

The New Deal provides stricter rules for online shopping, with a stop to fake reviews and control of discounts and sponsorships.

Of course, the final goal is the decisive increase in transparency in every phase of digital purchase and for this reason it can be considered as a measure capable of facilitating the relationship between seller and buyer and guaranteeing standards for both parties. high safety and reliability.

New Deal

But on the sellers side, what does the New Deal actually foresee?

It provides specific behavioral rules, including:

  • The absolute prohibition of publishing and / or sponsoring phase reviews that could even minimally alter the real value of a product and / or service
  • The absolute prohibition of sponsoring or promoting any discounts or fallacious price reductions that go to deceive the user about the real value of a product and / or service and also mask the value of the object itself
  • The absolute prohibition of promoting or sponsoring false messages and / or reviews that could deceive the user by pushing him treacherously towards the purchase
  • The obligation to inform the user in advance if the product or service he is about to purchase comes from a third-party trader or from a private individual

From the aforementioned guidelines it is therefore easy to understand how the New Deal cannot fail to take into account today's reality to propose behavioral rules unfortunately very often ignored for exclusively utilitarian and economic purposes but which, as we have seen in numerous cases, end up damaging an entire sector.

Obviously, particular importance is given to the processing and management of personal data, the so-called GDPR which deserves, however, a treatment in itself.


E-commerce and GDPR

The processing of personal data, especially in current times, has always been a particularly thorny subject capable of reflecting a lot the professionalism of a business and corporate reality and decree much of its success or failure.

As far as E-commerce is concerned, in addition to having to comply with all the regulations already present in other websites, even of a different nature, there are further guidelines that must be followed in order not to incur penalties.

One of the most important rules is related, and could not be otherwise, to marketing activity.

This must be carried out with the full consent of the end user, furthermore, where it is carried out by email, it is necessary for the user to submit his consent through a specific illustrative form on the platform.

In general, any marketing and / or profiling activity must be approved by the user to whom it is addressed through his consent, as well as having to make unavoidable mention on the site with specific information forms.

E-commerce and penalties

What happens if e-commerce refuses to comply with the regulations of online stores or is missing in the application of some specific guideline?

Obviously it is not possible to provide a single penalty or sanction, because a lot depends on the nature of the infringement in place, however clarifying examples can be advanced.

Where, for example, it is the processing of personal data that has not been scrupulously followed, the sanction applied will refer to that provided for by current European legislation.

The same argument can be applied if the infringements detected refer to the products themselves, there is a specific law in this regard.

Different discourse in the case instead the infringements detected are configured as a transgression of the current laws that regulate E-commerce for which the penalties provided are those illustrated by article 21 of the Decree Law 70/2003 .

For practical purposes, it is possible to receive an administrative sanction for a minimum of 103 Euros to a maximum of 10,000 Euros with a very serious possibility of doubling the final amount in cases of repeated infringement.


As we have seen, founding, managing and administering an E-commerce is not as immediate as one might expect.

Of course, predictive analyzes must be conducted to better analyze the market and the reference sector to ensure that one's own reality can stand out from the countless others already present, without forgetting that the actual landing of an online platform is only possible after all requirements and standards have been fully complied with.

Of course, for the procedural process, you can rely on a professional figure such as a legal consultant, but the important thing is to be aware of the hard work that a similar reality requires, also because it is only through full compliance with all current regulations that it will be It is possible to offer a quality service to the mutual satisfaction of both the seller and the customer.

Author: Loris Modena


For Ind Loris Modena , owner of Arte e Informatica , he began working in the IT sector in 1989 as a system engineer in charge of the maintenance and installation of IT systems. He started programming for the web in 1997 dealing with CGI programming in PERL and then moving on to programming in PHP and JavaScript. In this period he approaches the Open source world and the management of Linux servers.

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