eCommerce Directive during the transition period

How the eCommerce Directive is affected by the transition period.

The eCommerce Directive continues to apply to the UK for the duration of the transition period.

The Directive

The eCommerce Directive applies to ‘information society services’. These are defined as:

  • any service normally provided for payment, including indirect payment such as advertising revenue
  • ‘at a distance’ (where customers can use the service without the provider being present)
  • by electronic means
  • at the individual request of a recipient of the service

This covers the vast majority of online service providers, for example online retailers, video sharing sites, search tools, social media platforms and internet service providers.

The eCommerce Directive allows EEA information society service providers to operate in any EEA country, while only following relevant rules in the country in which they are established.

For the purposes of the Directive, your ‘place of establishment’ is the fixed establishment where you pursue your economic activity for an indefinite period of time. It is not simply where the technologies are that are needed to provide your service. See paragraph (19) of the recitals to the Directive for further guidance.

The Directive also includes rules on general monitoring, liability of intermediary services providers and prior authorisation.

The Directive does not apply to requirements in the following fields:

  • tax
  • questions about agreements or practices governed by cartel law
  • certain gambling activities
  • personal data covered by the GDPR and e-Privacy Directive
  • legal requirements relating to goods such as safety standards, labelling obligations or liability for goods
  • requirements relating to delivering or transporting goods.
Published 16 October 2019