Illegal website products Can I legally sell any products on my website?

Illegal website products

Illegal website products – Can I legally sell any products on my website?

Whether you are building an online market place (e.g. a platform for buying and selling electronic goods for which you charge a fee), or an ecommerce or ebusiness platform (e.g. you are selling electronic goods directly to the consumer or supplying other businesses), illegal website products should be a consideration for you. You need to know what you can sell and why you are prohibited from selling certain products.

Illegal website products is an area that causes some confusion. As well as other important issues like compliance with consumer laws, lawful business practices, intellectual property and jurisdiction matters, awareness of what can be legally sold on your website is important. You should also look to cover the issue of Illegal website products in your website terms and conditions.

Illegal website products

Illegal website products

Here are some important tips.

1. Selling Apple and other branded products – Although you can sell products from any manufacturer on your online store, there are restrictions. Different manufacturers have their own intellectual property policies. Intellectual property is important since manufacturers do not authorise the sale of their products using their trademarks without a prior license. There may also be patent, design rights and other intellectual property rights that could be infringed by sale of other companies’ products.

2. False Products – Make sure you address false products on your site. For every available major product there’s a counterfeit, particular hardware like Ipads and laptops, pharmaceutical and fashion products. There is always somebody attempting to make money simply because the item they are selling looks similar to another original item.

3. Items you can’t sell on your site – Obviously stolen items, making cash from drug deals, counterfeit items, and guns are all things any reasonable person would be aware of as being unlawful to try to sell on a website. They are all usually banned from all online market platforms that operate within the law like EBay. But what most people don’t think about is what exactly is banned? Can someone sell an unwanted airplane ticket or cigarettes for example? Reselling football tickets, and I mean football in the UK not football in the USA, is a legal minefield. On a site like EBay, who have an army of lawyers, they have thought things through carefully. On EBay the sale of any football tickets for matches in England and Wales is banned. There is a long list of banned items in the EBay terms and conditions.

4. Action – In order to stay within the law you need to monitor carefully what is being sold on you site. EBay for example provides an item reporting screen where anything that goes against policy can be flagged up by users for their staff to deal with.

Illegal website products

Illegal website products

In certain circumstances if someone is selling something on online retail stores that is illegal you could end up liable in a court case. You should give this issue some thought in your terms and conditions.

The Guide To Selling Online 


To book a face to face consultation for commercial legal advice you should contact a specialist ecommerce retail lawyer (charge rates may apply and may vary).

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