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COBS 5.2 E-Commerce


COBS 5.2.1 R RP

This section applies to a firm1carrying on 1an electronic commerce activity1from an establishment in the United Kingdom, with or for a person in the United Kingdom3.


Information about the firm and its products or services1

COBS 5.2.2 R RP

A firm must make at least the following information easily, directly and permanently accessible to the recipients of the information society services it provides:

  1. (1)

    its name;

  2. (2)

    the geographic address at which it is established;

  3. (3)

    the details of the firm, including its e-mail address, which allow it to be contacted rapidly and communicated with in a direct and effective manner;

  4. (4)

    an appropriate statutory status disclosure statement (GEN 4 Annex 1 R or GEN 4 Annex 1A R as appropriate4), together with a statement which explains that it is on the Financial Services Register and includes its Firm Reference Number;2

  5. (5)

    if it is a professional firm3:

    1. (a)

      the name of the professional body (including any designated professional body) or similar institution with which it is registered;

    2. (b)

      the professional title3;

    3. (c)

      a reference to the applicable professional rules 3and the means to access them; and

  6. (6)

    where the firm undertakes an activity that is subject to VAT, its VAT number.

[Note: article 5(1) of the E-Commerce Directive]

COBS 5.2.3 R RP

If a firm refers to price, it must do so clearly and unambiguously, indicating whether the price is inclusive of tax and delivery costs.

[Note: article 5(2) of the E-Commerce Directive]

COBS 5.2.4 R RP

A firm must ensure that commercial communications which are part of, or constitute, an information society service, comply with the following conditions:

  1. (1)

    the commercial communication must be clearly identifiable as such;

  2. (2)

    the person on whose behalf the commercial communication is made must be clearly identifiable;

  3. (3)

    promotional offers must be clearly identifiable as such, and the conditions that must be met to qualify for them must be easily accessible and presented clearly and unambiguously; and

  4. (4)

    promotional competitions or games must be clearly identifiable as such, and the conditions for participation must be easily accessible and presented clearly and unambiguously.

[Note: article 6 of the E-Commerce Directive]

COBS 5.2.5 R RP

An unsolicited commercial communication sent by e-mail by a firm3 must be identifiable clearly and unambiguously as an unsolicited commercial communication as soon as it is received by the recipient.

[Note: article 7(1) of the E-Commerce Directive]

Requirements relating to the placing and receipt of orders

COBS 5.2.6 R RP

A firm must (except when otherwise agreed by parties who are not consumers):

  1. (1)

    give an ECA recipient at least the following information, clearly, comprehensibly and unambiguously, and prior to the order being placed by the recipient of the service:

    1. (a)

      the different technical steps to follow to conclude the contract;

    2. (b)

      whether or not the concluded contract will be filed by the firm and whether it will be accessible;

    3. (c)

      the technical means for identifying and correcting input errors prior to the placing of the order; and

    4. (d)

      the languages offered for the conclusion of the contract;

  2. (2)

    indicate any relevant codes of conduct to which it subscribes and information on how those codes can be consulted electronically;

  3. (3)

    (when an ECA recipient places an order through technological means), acknowledge the receipt of the recipient's order without undue delay and by electronic means; and

  4. (4)

    make available to an ECA recipient, appropriate, effective and accessible technical means allowing the recipient to identify and correct input errors prior to the placing of an order.

[Note: articles 10(1) and (2) and 11(1) and (2) of the E-Commerce Directive]

COBS 5.2.7 R RP

For the purposes of COBS 5.2.6 R (3), an order and an acknowledgement of receipt are deemed to be received when the parties to whom they are addressed are able to access them.

[Note: article 11(1) of the E-Commerce Directive]

COBS 5.2.8 R RP

Contractual terms and conditions provided by a firm to an ECA recipient must be made available in a way that allows the recipient to store and reproduce them.

[Note: article 10(3) of the E-Commerce Directive]

Exception: contract concluded by e-mail

COBS 5.2.9 R RP

The requirements relating to the placing and receipt of orders (COBS 5.2.6 R) do not apply to contracts concluded exclusively by exchange of e-mail or by equivalent individual communications.

[Note: article 10(4) and 11(3) of the E-Commerce Directive]