A new law is to have a significant effect for online trading, according to IT law firm Tarlo Lyons. The EU Distance Selling Directive will force e-businesses to provide certain information to consumers, also allowing many of them a period within which to cancel the contract. The EU law was originally directed towards advertising with order forms and tele-sales but will now include any goods or services contract where the parties are not simultaneously present.

A survey by the Cranfield School of Management shows that while most SMEs understand the importance of e-commerce, fewer than 30% of respondents have seen significant benefits from it. All is not lost, however. BT has launched a national programme of free advanced e-business seminars for UK SMEs, called e-asy stage 2, Developing your e-strategy. The programme is aimed at businesses that have gone beyond the early stages of e-business development, and are looking to use the Internet more strategically. For more information, contact 0800 800 873 or visit

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