The EU Commission has stated it believes that between 2001 and 2003, the number of people engaged in business online will have trebled and the number of transactions to buy and sell goods and/or services over the Internet will have multiplied by twenty. The UK’s Department of Trade and Industry estimates that the e-commerce industry is worth in excess of £57 billion in the UK alone. One of the difficulties experienced by businesses that wish to conduct e-commerce is the increasing need to know not just about the legal requirements of their own jurisdiction, but also the legal requirements of those jurisdictions where their customers are located. Whilst for consumers one of the biggest hurdles is the continued lack of trust and confidence in the Internet as a means of purchasing goods and services. (more…)
In order to encourage consumer confidence in buying goods and services over the Internet the EU has adopted Directive EC 97/7 on the protection of consumers in respect to distance contracts (the “Distance Selling Directive”). In the UK, the Distance Selling Directive has been implemented by The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (“the Regulations”). The Distance Selling Directive provides an agreed minimum level of consumer protection throughout the EU, requiring businesses to provide certain information to consumers before and after ordering goods and services at a distance such as over the Internet or by phone providing consumers with rights of withdrawal and regulating certain marketing methods. (more…)
The Directive regarding the distance marketing of consumer financial services is an essential part of the Commission’s strategy to develop an internal market for retail financial services. The strategy, as set out in the Commission’s Communication on E-Commerce and Financial Services, is part of the Financial Services Action Plan. This sets out the Commission’s wider goal of creating a fully integrated European market in financial services by 2005 to complement the introduction of the euro. The aim of the Directive is to harmonise Member States’ rules on the distance marketing of consumer financial services, thereby raising the level of consumer protection whilst enabling service providers to market their services across the EU without unnecessary obstacles.
This paper will deal with the application of:
- section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (the “FSMA“);
- the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2001 (the “Financial Promotion Order“) and amendments thereto; and
- the financial promotion rules in the Conduct of Business Sourcebook (“COBS“).
This paper is intended to give an overview of the main aspects of the above rules and how they apply to online financial promotions.