• Business Licensing
  • Online Access to Business forms
  • Business Support

Business Licensing

Any person wishing to trade in Gibraltar, be it wholesale or retail, or to provide a service in Gibraltar must hold a valid business licence (unless the relevant business is regulated by another enactment). Find out more about the Business Licencing Authority and download copies of the licence application forms.

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Online Access to Business forms

All forms and applications relating to the licensing and registration requirements of your business with various Government departments can now be downloaded for free from our website. This includes forms for the Department of Employment, Income Tax Office, Development and Planning Commission, HM Customs and the OFT. Just visit the Business Support section.

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Business Support

The Business Support team’s aim is to assist entrepreneurs with the process of establishing their new businesses in Gibraltar. We can provide guidance about your business’s licensing and registration requirements with the OFT and other HM Government of Gibraltar Departments.

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AML/CFT

  •  Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the
     Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)

    Money laundering is the process of transforming and concealing the profits generated by criminal activity and corruption (such as drug trafficking, fraud and tax evasion) into a ‘clean’/legitimate asset.

    The Office of Fair Trading has been appointed as a supervisory authority under the Proceeds of Crime ACT 2015 (POCA). POCA is a Gibraltar law aimed at preventing the abuse of the financial system for the laundering or illicit money and the financing of terrorism. It also sets out processes relating to the confiscation, investigation and recovery of the proceeds of unlawful conduct.

    The OFT will be specifically regulating High Value Dealers and Real Estate Agents for compliance with anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation.  The OFT aims to prevent High Value Dealers and Real Estate Agents being used for money laundering and terrorist financing through effective supervision, regulation and enforcement.

  •  High Value Dealers (HVDs)

    The buying and selling of high value goods is internationally recognised as a major avenue for money laundering activity which is very attractive to criminals seeking to launder illicit funds. Proceeds of crime are used to purchase high value goods as part of the layering and integration stages of money laundering.

    According to HM Government of Gibraltar’s 2018 AML/CFT National Risk Assessment, the risk of high value goods being used for the laundering of money in Gibraltar is considered moderate to low.

    HVDs are businesses that accept cash payments in any currency with a value which is equal to, or greater than, €15,000.00 in exchange for goods. The OFT will consider any transaction for goods which is equal to, or greater than, £8,000.00 as a high value transaction (or any currency equivalents based on the exchange rate at the time of the transaction). This monetary threshold does not apply to debit or credit card payments nor does it apply to payments in cash for tobacco which is regulated separately by HM Customs). Multiple transactions from the same customers may cumulatively be considered as surpassing the monetary threshold if the are considered related. Any business accepting such payment is required to follow the requirements of POCA and to report annually to the OFT.

    In order to assist HVDs with compliance of their AML/CFT obligations, and to explain how the regulation process will be enforced, the OFT have issued AML/CFT Guidance Notes for High Value Dealers. We have also created a sample high value transaction form which may be used by HVDs to keep appropriate records of cash payments.

    The OFT has also created obligations for:

    1. Potential HVDs - dealers in goods which have not yet received a payment in cash above the monetary threshold but are open to accepting such cash payments (see Chapter 9 of the Guidance Notes); and
    2. High Risk Dealers (HRDs)- businesses that have not received payments above the monetary threshold but are dealers in goods which are considered to have a higher inherent risk and vulnerability to money laundering and terrorist financing (see Chapter 10 of the Guidance Notes).

     

  •  Real Estate Agents (REAs)

    The risk of real estate being used for the laundering of money in Gibraltar is moderate as set out in HM Government of Gibraltar’s AML/CFT National Risk Assessment. Gibraltar’s strong property market and stable economy can be attractive for money launderers.

    In order to assist REAs to comply with their AML/CFT obligations under Proceeds of Crime Act (2015), the OFT have created easy to follow Guidance Notes. The purpose of these is to ensure all REAs are fully aware and compliant with their AML/CFT obligations and are aware of the OFT's regulatory approach for this sector. The guidance therefore also sets out REAs' reporting obligations to the OFT.

    Our aim is to increase awareness and understanding of potential risks, best practices, the establishment of AML/CFT procedures and other practical measures to mitigate risks. Even though most real estate transactions involve other regulated entities such as banks, law firms and other institutions, risk factors must be identified by REAs to avoid becoming a target to criminal organisations looking to launder illicitly obtained money. REAs must therefore be aware of the risk posed by the purchase of real estate as a tool for placement, layering and integration of funds from illicit sources. Schedule 2 of the Guidance notes sets out examples of common money laundering methods and schemes to assist REAs with this process.

    The guidance notes should be read in conjunction with the REA codes of conduct.

  •  The OFT’s Enforcement Powers

    The OFT will require both HVDs and REAs to report annually to the OFT in order to allow it to carry out its regulatory function and to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

    The OFT works closely with the GFIU (Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit), other Government entities and other regulatory entities in relation to AML/CFT matters. It uses various sources to acquire information and data to identify businesses which are a high risk of being targeted by criminal organisations for the laundering of money.

    The Proceeds of Crime Act 2015 (the Act) and the supporting Supervisory Bodies (Powers etc.) Regulations 2017 provide the OFT with powers to take enforcement action against those business who have failed to fulfil their POCA responsibilities or fulfil the requirement set out in the OFT's AML/CFT Guidance Notes. This may include the imposition of financial penalties and other disciplinary measures including suspensions or withdrawal of licences, temporary bans from managerial positions and the giving of directions.

  •  Suspicious Activity Reports

    MLROs of HVDs and REAs must be aware of daily transactions and monitor any suspicious activities that might be linked to money laundering or terrorist financing. Where necessary the MLRO must report such activities or risks to the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit (GFIU) by submitting a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). Where a REA suspects, or has reasonable grounds to suspect, that a transaction is related to ML/TF it is required to report it promptly to the GFIU. This includes attempted transactions. For more guidance and information please refer to Chapter 5 of the OFT's AML/CFT Guidance Notes for HVDs and for REAs .

    Format of report

    The use of a standard format in the reporting of disclosures is important and all HVDs and REAs are strongly encouraged to use GFIU’s online reporting system (Themis).  Access to this system can be obtained from the GFIU (https://www.gfiu.gov.gi/reporting). Further information and advice on Themis can be obtained from GFIU (see 'Useful Contacts' below).

    Sufficient information should be disclosed on the suspicious transaction, including the reason for the suspicion, to enable the investigating officer to conduct appropriate enquiries. The suspected criminality must be stated so that the report may be passed to the appropriate investigation team with the minimum of delay.

    Where additional relevant evidence is held which could be made available to the investigating officer, this should be added to the disclosure. Themis allows for the disclosure of additional information in various formats.

    SAR forms can also be downloaded from this site where it is not possible to get access to Themis and should be submitted to the GFIU by e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or delivered by hand to their offices at Suite 832, Europort. HVDs and REAs are however strongly encouraged to use the Themis wherever possible.

  •  Documents

    OFT Documents

    High Value Dealers    
    AML/CFT Guidance Notes for High Value Dealers Download PDF  
    High Value Dealer Survey Download PDF  
    High Value Dealer Annual Report form Download PDF  
    AML/CFT officer nomination form Download PDF  
    Sample HVD High Value Transaction form Download PDF  
         
    Real Estate Agents    
    AML/CFT Guidance Notes for Real Estate Agents Download PDF  
    Real Estate Agent Survey Download PDF  
    Real Estate Agent Annual Report form Download PDF  
    Money Laundering Reporting Officer nomination form Download PDF  
    CDD Sample Form REA 1 - Transaction details Download PDF  
    CDD Sample Form REA 2A - UBO Natural Person Download PDF  
    CDD Sample Form REA 2B - Companies Download PDF  
    CDD Sample From REA 2C - Trusts Download PDF  
    CDD Sample Form REA 2D - Other entities Download PDF  
    CDD Sample From REA 3 - Risk Assessment Download PDF  
         
    Other Guidance    
     AML/CFT Beneficial Ownership Guidance Notes Download PDF  
         
    AML/CFT Enforcement Policy  Download PDF  

    Legislation

    Proceeds of Crime Act 2015 Download PDF  
    Supervisory Bodies (Powers etc.) Regulations 2017 Download PDF  
    Terrorism Act 2018 Download PDF  
    Sanctions Act 2019 Download PDF  

    Other Gibraltar Documents

    GFIU Suspicious Activity Report form Download PDF  
    HM Government of Gibraltar AML/CFT National Risk Assessment Download PDF  
    4MLD and Amendments to POCA Newsletter Download PDF  
    Gibraltar Based Non-Profit Organisations & the Risk of Abuse from Terrorist Funding Newsletter Download PDF  
    Terrorism Act 2018 Newsletter Download PDF  
    Sanctions Act 2019 Newsletter Download PDF  

    FATF guidance to assist HVDs and REAs

    FATF Trade-Based Money Laundering Download PDF  
    FATF Best Practices on Trade-Based Money Laundering (HVD) Download PDF  
    FATF RBA Guidance for Dealers in Precious Stones and Metals (HVD) Download PDF  
    FATF Money laundering and terrorist financing through trade in diamonds (HVD) Download PDF  
    FATF Money laundering/terrorist financing risks and vulnerabilities associated with gold (HVD) Download PDF  
    FATF RBA Guidance for Real Estate Agents (REA) Download PDF  
    FATF Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Through the Real Estate Sector (REA) Download PDF  
  •  Sanctions & High Risk Jurisdictions

    Sanctions

    Sanctions is a general term used for a defined set of actions, including permissions or restrictions, taken by countries on a global basis, to which other countries or persons are subject. Sanctions may be imposed on people, businesses, organisations and financial institutions and you are generally not allowed to deal with these people by law. All customers must therefore be checked on the international sanctions lists.

    On the 28th March 2019 HM Government of Gibraltar published the Sanctions Act 2019 (the “Act”) to give effect to numerous international requirements relating to financial and other sanctions. This Act consolidates and makes it clearer for businesses to understand what international, and local sanctions apply in given circumstances. The Act provides for a new regime to implement both international and domestic sanctions in Gibraltar. These sanctions include financial
    sanctions, immigration sanctions, trade sanctions, aircraft sanctions and shipping sanctions. For more information on the Act please refer to the National Coordinator for Anti-Money Laundering and the Combatting of Terrorist Financing's Sanctions Act 2019 Newsletter.

    For further practical information about sanctions, how they work and your obligations please refer to the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit's (GFIU) Sanctions Guidance Notes. For access to the lists please refer to the ‘Sanctions’ section of the GFIU’s website.

    High Risk Jurisdictions

    The FATF identifies jurisdictions with weak measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT) in two FATF public documents that are issued three times a year. These documents may be accessed on the FATF website.

     

  •  Useful Contacts


    Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit (GFIU)

    The Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit receives, analyses and disseminates financial intelligence gathered from Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

    Suite 832, Europort Gibraltar

    Tel: (+350) 20070211

    Fax: (+350) 20070233

    E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Gibraltar Financial Services Commission

    The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) is the financial services regulator in Gibraltar and regulates auditors, banks, company managers, e-money institutions, professional trustees, payment services providers, funds and fund services providers, insurance companies, managers and intermediaries, investment firms and insolvency practitioners. If your business involves any of the above, your supervising authority may be the GFSC rather than the OFT.

    Atlantic Suites, Suite 3, Ground Floor, Gibraltar

    Tel: (+350) 20040283

    Fax: (+350) 20040282

    E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Gambling Division
- H.M Government of Gibraltar’s

    The Gambling Division is the regulator for all gambling related matters in Gibraltar and is also appointed as a supervisory authority under the POCA. If your business involves gambling, your supervising authority may be the Gambling Commission rather than the OFT

    Europort

    Suite 603

    GX11 1AA
 Gibraltar

    Tel: 00350 20064142


    Fax: 00350 20064150 


    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    HM Customs Gibraltar

    HM Customs Gibraltar is the supervisory authority for the trade in tobacco in Gibraltar.

    Customs House, Waterport, Gibraltar

    Tel: (+350) 20078879/20079988

    Fax: (+350) 20049278

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    www.hmcustoms.gov.gi

     

     

    Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

    FATF is an inter-governmental body whose objectives is to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.  The FATF's  website is an excellent resource for both HVDs and REAs containing numerous guidance notes and typologies to help these meet their AML/CFT requirements.

    www.fatf-gafi.org/home/

     

  • 1

Chair / Commission

The role of the Commission is to ensure a level playing field between businesses for the ultimate benefit of consumers and the local economy.  The Commission will serve as a quasi-judicial branch of the OFT. Its jurisdiction shall be reserved for breaches that may need referring to the Commission.

The Commission will also be responsible for issuing enforcement orders to force those causing significant consumer harm to consumers to refrain or remedy this. The OFT Commission will consist of a Chairman and no fewer than four other members, appointed by the Minister.

Consumer Protection

The responsibilities of the previous Department of Consumer Affairs are now undertaken by the Consumer Protection team of the Office of Fair Trading.

The Office of Fair Trading upholds the former department’s objective of ensuring that locals and visitors alike are able to shop with confidence in Gibraltar. In addition to this, it also focuses on ensuring a level playing field between businesses in Gibraltar. The Consumer Protection’ division of the Office of Fair Trading seeks to achieve these objectives by fulfilling its responsibilities as set out by the Fair Trading Act 2015.

Our responsibilities

The Consumer Protection team has the following responsibilities under the Fair Trading Act 2015:

Education:   Raising consumer and trader awareness on their rights and responsibilities via awareness campaigns, seminars, presentations and publications on different topics of consumer concern;

Advice:   Advising consumers and traders on their rights and responsibilities based on the enquiries or complaints brought to us (for more information see below);

Investigation:   Investigating matters which could be causing harm to our local consumers (for more information see below);

Product Safety:   Monitoring and testing products in our market to ensure their conformity with European Standards;

Advertisements:   Monitoring adverts to ensure they are accurate and complying with the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Act;

Inspections:   Ensuring shop notices are in conformity with consumer rights, prices are displayed, businesses licenses are up to date and that measuring and weighing equipment are calibrated;

Enforcement:   Undertaking enforcement measures against businesses causing consumer detriment and monitoring that these measures are being adhered to (for more information see below); and

Legislation:   Monitor changes in the UK and European consumer landscape and issuing recommendations for changes to our local legislation to try and maintain equal standards of consumer protection in Gibraltar.

How to make a complaint against a business?

To make a complaint against a business please contact us:

  1. by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating the name of the business and providing details of the practices being complained about;
  2. on the phone: 200 71700; and/or
  3. by coming to our offices at Suite 975 Europort, Europort Road.

We will take complaints against businesses that could, through their business practices, be potentially be causing consumer harm. Please note however that the team cannot process complaints raised by businesses against other businesses as businesses do not fall within the definition of "consumer" for the purposes of the Fair Trading Act 2015. If however a business raise a complaint against another business, and that complaint is in relation to business practices which may be causing harm to consumers generally or in relation to businesses operating without a valid business licence, then the team will be able to process the complaint.

If as a consumer you directly affected by the actions of a business, we will usually ask that you try and address the situation directly with the business first (if you haven’t done so already) in order to allow the business the opportunity to act in accordance with their obligations to you. If you are uncertain of what your consumer rights are in a particular situation we will advise you on what these should be, based on the account that you give us. When contacting a business with a complaint we recommend that you try and maintain as calm as possible in order not to sever relationships, as this will help to achieve the best possible outcomes for you. 

How we can help

If you are unable to resolve the matter amicably with the business and we identify that the business could be engaging in practices which are detrimental to the collective interests of consumers in Gibraltar, we will proceed to contact the business ourselves. If we determine that the business is causing consumer harm in any way, we will try and assist the business into compliance and seek an undertaking from them that they will cease the detrimental practice. Please note however that the OFT is not empowered to achieve any redress for a complainant. Businesses often offer redress to complainants after our team's intervention, however this is not something we may assist with.

If a Business fails to adequately refrain from causing consumer harm the OFT may make a reference to the OFT Commission who may issue the business with appropriate Enforcement Order. 

Enforcement

Consumer Protection Enforcers (CPE)

The main role of the CPEs is the protection of consumer interests and to ensure that all businesses comply with this legislation. CPEs will visit local traders to review their business practices, inspect weighing and measuring equipment used for trade and check business licences to ensure they are in place and up to date.

They will also monitor and check advertisements for accuracy, inspect and test goods for safety, ensure that no person is selling goods to consumers without a business licence and investigate matters and behaviour of business practices in Gibraltar that the Office of Fair Trading consider to be significantly harming consumers in Gibraltar.

The CP Enforcers’ powers include investigatory powers, the ability to enter into business premises with a warrant and the retention of documents.

The OFT Commission

The Commission is the quasi-judicial body of the Office of Fair Trading. If as a result of complaints received by the OFT or as a result of its own investigations there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that any feature, or combination of features, of a market in Gibraltar for goods or services is or appears to be significantly harming consumer interests the OFT may make a reference to the Commission.

Where, following a reference and any subsequent investigation carried out by the Commission, the Commission finds that the person named in the Reference has engaged in conduct which significantly harms consumer interests, the Commission may make an enforcement order against that person. The order would require the person to cease that conduct and may also require the person to issue a corrective statement or to provide proof of compliance. Compliance with an enforcement order shall be enforceable by civil proceedings.

The Consumer Protection team monitors Enforcement Orders and Undertakings issued by the OFT Commission and informs them if we find they are not being adhered to. In such cases, the Commission can apply to the courts for any applicable measures against the trader

Consumer Advice

Your rights under the Sale of Goods Act

When you buy goods from a trader the law says they must:

  1. Match their description. This means that they must be as described by the seller. This includes any description on the packaging. In most circumstances, it also means that they must conform to any advertising claims made about them;
  2. Be of satisfactory quality. This means that the product should meet the standards that any reasonable person would expect. This includes the appearance and finish of the goods, their safety and durability and whether they are free from defects, including minor faults.
  3. Be fit for the purpose bought. This means that the goods must be fit for the purpose they are generally intended for and any other use that the trader has advised you of.

You have the same rights when you buy goods in a sale. When you buy second-hand goods, the above conditions still apply but you will also need to take into account the age of the goods and the price you paid.

You will not be able to take action against the seller if:

  1. You examined the goods before you bought them and the fault was obvious;
  2. The seller pointed out the fault before you bought them (unless there are other faults and the goods are not as described);
  3. You have damaged or altered the goods or failed to care for them in line with any instructions; and/or
  4. You have used them for some time and the problem has been caused by normal wear and tear. However, goods not of satisfactory quality still have to match their description.

Returning goods

If you send goods back to the trader:

  1. Find out exactly why the trader wants to keep the goods and what will happen to them;
  2. Do not send the original receipt or other proof of purchase; and
  3. Take note that once you accept repair you may be forfeiting your rights to later reject that item.

If the trader takes goods back, they may, for example:

  1. Examine the goods;
  2. Send the goods away for a second opinion or testing; and/or
  3. Repair the goods or replace or refund.

Remember that goods sent for a second opinion or testing may be lost, damaged or destroyed in the process. This means that you have lost the proof that there was ever a fault. It is therefore advisable to obtain a receipt from the trader for any goods, which are handed back to them.

Refunds, Replacement and Repairs

Traders are generally only legally obliged to offer a full refund for a short period of time after the purchase if the goods do not conform to your rights under the Sale of Goods Act (see above).

Once you’ve had the goods for a longer period of time you may still be entitled to redress from the trader usually in the form of replacement or repair. However, if:

  1. it is impossible to replace or repair the goods;
  2. replacement or repair would be unreasonably costly for the seller;
  3. the seller fails to replace or repair the goods within a reasonable time, having agreed to do so; or
  4. causes you significant inconvenience,

then you can ask for a partial or full refund. The amount of the refund may be reduced to take account of any use that you have had out of the goods.

Credit notes

You do not have to accept a credit note if you are returning faulty goods, but you should be aware that in accepting a credit note, you will not normally be able to take any action for a refund. If you do accept a credit note, you should check whether it must be used within a certain time.

Guarantees

If the goods are covered by a guarantee, this may grant you additional rights. The guarantee cannot take away your statutory rights (those given to you by law). Traders may tell you that you should contact the manufacturer of the goods or the warranty company, to get satisfaction. However, you do not have to approach the manufacturer yourself and you do not have to claim under a warranty if the fault has developed within a reasonable amount of time after purchase.

In consumer law your contract is with the trader and not the manufacturer. You may wish to contact the manufacturer (especially if there is a guarantee), or a warranty company, if you think that you will get a more satisfactory outcome this way. However, the trader is strictly liable to the buyer i.e. obliged to deal with your complaint, even if you have nothing in writing that says so.

Goods bought from a private seller

If you buy from a private seller who was not selling the goods as a business, you do not have the same rights. The goods are sold as seen, so they may not be of good quality but they must match their description. If you saw the goods advertised, keep the advertisement as evidence.

Goods bought with a credit card

You have additional rights if you’ve used a UK based credit card provider and if the goods or services cost more than £100 but less than £30,000. You may be able to claim against the credit company as well as the trader.
This right only applies to consumers acting in a private capacity and not to credit provided for business purposes. Of course, the credit or card company will want reasonable proof that you have a problem.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Q. I have just bought something for a certain amount of money and have now seen it much cheaper elsewhere. Can I go back to the trader and ask that the price difference be refunded to me?
    A. No. It is up to the consumer to shop around for the best deal.
  2. Q. I bought a gift for someone but it turns out that they already had one. Can I go back to the trader and ask for a refund?
    A. Refunds need only be given if the product is not fit for the purpose, as described or free from defects. It is therefore a matter of company policy whether they give you a refund or not under the above circumstances. Always familiarise yourself with the shop’s policies before purchasing goods from them.
  3. Q. I saw an item in a shop for a certain price but when I went to pay for it, the cashier told me it was the wrong price and it was actually more expensive than what was indicated; surely they have to honour the price shown?
    A. Goods put on display for consumers to purchase is referred to in law as an ‘invitation to treat,’ when you select the item and proceed to pay for them, you are making an offer on those goods to the shop, the shop may then either accept or reject your offer. Therefore, shops are not obliged to accept payment for goods at the prices indicated.
  4. Q. I bought something on sale, which has turned out to be faulty; can I return it to the shop?
    A. You benefit from the same statutory rights when you purchase goods on sale as if they had been bought at the original price. However, if the goods were reduced because they were faulty and this fault was pointed out to you prior to the purchase, then you cannot ask for redress for the fault in question.
  5. Q. I returned some faulty merchandise and the trader offered me a credit note. I accepted it but there is nothing in the shop that I want. Can I ask for the credit note to be exchanged for cash?
    A. You do not have to accept a credit note when returning faulty goods. The trader should either, repair, replace or refund. However, bear in mind that if you do accept a credit note, you cannot later ask for this to be exchanged for cash.

Shopping tips

  1. Ensure that products bought, especially electronic goods and toys are EU compliant and certified.
  2. Familiarise yourself with the exchange/refund policies of the shops from which you are purchasing.
  3. Ensure that online purchases are made from trustworthy and secure websites.
  4. Find out the expiry date of any gift vouchers.
  5. Take note that any deposits placed on goods to be bought later are usually non-refundable, if you cancel the purchase.
  6. When placing orders to be delivered from a shop, catalogue or website, you can add ‘time of the essence’ to your contract with the supplier. This will allow you to ask for a refund if the goods are not delivered on time. In any event unless otherwise agreed, traders should deliver goods within 30 days.
  7. Always keep your purchase receipts or any other proof of purchase, in case you encounter problems with your purchase in the future.
  8. Ask about the guarantee offered with the product. Guarantees cannot affect your statutory rights. 

Note that shops are NOT obliged to exchange or refund, unless the product is not:

  1. fit for the purpose bought;
  2. as described; and/or
  3. of satisfactory quality.

Internet shopping tips

With the increased use of the internet, shopping has become a global experience. But shopping on the Internet can bring its own problems;

Follow these tips for safer online shopping:

  1. Ensure you are dealing with a trustworthy and secure website before giving credit or debit card details. If the company does not have a secure site, your details may become available to others.
  2. Look for and click on the closed padlock sign at the bottom of the screen for information on the website’s security.
  3. Ideally, try to trade with well-known companies, or those that you have done business with before, or that have been recommended to you.
  4. Try to get an actual address and telephone number for a company, not just an email address.
  5. Shop around for the best deals and watch out for high postage rates and for hidden costs, such as duty payable, particularly when ordering from abroad.
  6. Remember, goods sent internationally may take longer to be delivered. Check with the trader and set a delivery date that you must have them by, if that is important to you. Traders from within the EU should deliver products within 30 days unless otherwise agreed.
  7. If buying from abroad, remember that problems like faulty goods or non-delivery may be very difficult to deal with. If returning goods you may face a hefty postage bill. EU traders should reimburse you for faulty goods and the postage and packaging costs within 14 days.
  8. Only buy very expensive items from outside the UK or Europe if you know the company to be trustworthy. This limits the risk if problems do arise.
  9. Under most circumstances, when buying from within the EU, you usually have 14 days (starting from the day after you receive the goods) in which to change your mind, about the product you’ve bought. The trader should inform you of this cancellation period which allows you to return un-used products to the trader.
  10. Most importantly, print out the order, and keep any terms and conditions that appear on the website, in case of any disputes later on.

Scams

Scams target people everywhere, from fake lotteries and prize draws to pyramid schemes, fake business directories, offers of riches by email, false advertisements, fake gift certificates, false websites and more. Scam artists work to mislead the consumer, contacting them by phone, email, post, face-to-face in the street or even at the front door.

Protect yourself from scams, be assertive and say “NO” to any offer, which puts you under pressure or where you may be unsure or fearful, especially when it all seems too good to be true. Say “NO”, even when you know and trust the person making the offer as plenty of innocent and well-meaning people have been duped into promoting scams that they are unaware they are participating in. You both stand to lose money and it could also damage your friendship.

Could you be the next target?

  1. Are you being asked to send money or ring a number before you receive an offer or prize?
  2. Do they sound pleasant, but are rushing you into making a decision and asking you not to tell anyone about the “great” deal?
  3. Do they ask you to give them your bank details, credit card number and other personal details?
  4. Do they give you a P.O. box number as their only address?
  5. Do they continue to talk about their offer even after you have said that you are not interested and make you feel that they will not take no for an answer?
  6. Do you repeatedly receive personalised emails promising free gifts, prizes or cheap prices from a company or address you have never heard of?

How to protect yourself

- Stop, think and be sceptical. Would a stranger give you something for nothing? Can you win a prize if you haven’t entered a draw? Remember, if it is a scam you may never get your money back.
- Don’t send money or give personal, credit card or bank details to anyone until you have checked them out thoroughly.
- Don’t rush into a decision; ask for time to think about the offer.
- Search the Internet for information about the company. Ask for detailed, written information and valid references to be shown or sent to you.
- Alternatively, search forums on the Internet to see what other people have said about the company.
- Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you detect a scam tell everyone you know and report it to us, or the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Contact us

For more information on the consumer protection functions of the OFT please contact us:

T - 20071700
E - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Legislation

Below you will find a non-exhaustive list of consumer legislation:

Consumer Protection (Unfair Trading) Act

Consumer Rights on Contracts Regulations

Contract and Tort Act 

Exhibition of Prices Order

Fair Trading Act 2015

Indication of Prices and Invoicing Rules

Misleading and Comparative Advertising Act

Package Travel Package Holidays and Package Tours Act

Provision of Services Regulations

Sale of Goods Act

Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Act

Weights and Measures Act

Business Licensing

In accordance with the Fair Trading Act 2015 (FTA), the functions of the Trade Licensing Authority have been transferred and subsumed within the remit of the Office of Fair Trading and shall be undertaken by the Business Licensing Authority (BLA).

Licensing requirements

Under the FTA any business wishing to:

  1. trade in Gibraltar, be it wholesale or retail; or
  2. to provide a service in Gibraltar,

must hold a business licence issued by the BLA (unless the relevant business is already licensed by separate local legislation, please see below).

Business licensing classes

The FTA creates the following business licensing classes as set out in Schedule 3:

A. Trade to include, but not limited to, the buying or selling whether by wholesale or retail, of any goods by way of a business and also means the importing of any goods into Gibraltar in commercial quantities;

B. Services, to include, but not limited to;

i. construction services road transport contracting and crafts;

ii. business-related services to include office maintenance, management consultancy, event organisation, debt recovery, advertising and recruitment services;

iii. tourism services to include travel agents;

iv. leisure services to include sports and amusement centres;

v. installation and maintenance of equipment;

vi. online services provided from Gibraltar;

vii. information society services to include publishing – print and web, news agencies, computer programming;

viii. accommodation and food services to include hotels, restaurants and caterers;

ix. training and education services;

x. rentals and leasing services to include car rental;

xi. real estate services;

xii. beauty therapists and hairdressers;

xiii. car repair workshops;

xiv. builders/carpenters/plumbers/electricians and decorators; and

xv. self-employed persons who provide services.

Note that the list of licensing classes in B. is non-exhaustive and the BLA may issue a licence for any service not specifically referred to in i. to xv. thereof.

Licences to trade

List of goods

Any application for a licence to trade under A., be it for retail, wholesale and/or export, should specify the goods which are to be traded from the approved goods list:

Approved goods list

 

The list has been prepared by the OFT in conjunction with HM Customs. You can find the relevant application forms at the bottom of this page.

Customs and importation of goods

A Business Licence is necessary for a business to obtain a Customs code for the importation of goods in commercial quantities into Gibraltar. It is a legal requirement for any Business registered in Gibraltar to obtain a Customs registration number in order to be included within the Customs database. Without this registration number the Business will not be allowed to import any goods in its name. See the HM Customs section of the Single Point of Contact for more information.

Licences for services

Specifying the service to be provided

Applications for a licence to provide services under B. must identify which of the services, i to xv, they shall be providing. If the service the business is to provide is not within the list the applicant should specify what the alternative service is in the application form in the 'Other (please specify)' box provided.

It is important that the BLA understands what type of services will be provided by the business. It is therefore essential that each application provides a full description of the services to be provided in the application form. If the information is not sufficient for the BLA this it may delay the processing of the application while the BLA gets in contact with the applicant to find out more information about the type of services to be provided. If in doubt provide as much information as possible about the type of business to be carried out.

Business premises

Pursuant to subsection 60(2) of the FTA, all businesses in Gibraltar are required to carry on their business from premises which are appropriate for the intended use of that business. Businesses are required to produce proof that they can occupy the premises at the time of their application to the BLA. These are normally tenancy agreements or leases and should be for a minimum term of 12 months.

Unless the requirements for a premises are waived (see below), business licences are issued in respect of the business premises and allow the applicant to conduct the business from those premises. Thus, prior to submitting an application for a Business Licence, applicants should ensure suitable commercial premises have been acquired. Without suitable commercial premises the licence cannot be issued.

Businesses from home

Subsection 60(8) of the FTA stipulates that "a licence shall not be granted to any premises which are residential Government premises, nor to any non-Governmental premises under which the terms of the title deeds to such premises restrict commercial activities to be carried on from such premises”. A business cannot therefore operate from a home unless the title deeds or head lease of the home do not restrict its use for commercial activity.

Premises waiver

Businesses that do not need premises from which to operate may apply for a waiver from the requirement of subsection 60(2) pursuant to subsection 60(9) of the FTA. An application for such a waiver should be clearly set out in Form 1a (see below).

The grant of a business licence under a premises waiver does not grant the licence-holder any right to operate their business from any premises that are residential Government premises, or from non-Governmental premises under which the terms of the title deeds restrict commercial activities. Furthermore, businesses operating without a premises are required to obtain separately all necessary approvals and consents from the headlessor or freehold owner of any premises from which the licence-holder is to operate all or any part of their business.

The granting of a waiver from the requirement to have premises is a matter for the BLA to determine based on the information received with the relevant application. If you wish to apply for a premises waiver you will therefore be required to provide information about how, in your view, your business can operate without a premises. This can be provided in a letter accompanying the application.

Premises waivers will not be granted to traders or businesses who are required to hold stock or physical documentation e.g. employees records.

Co-existence of two businesses in same premises

Subsection 60(6) of the FTA permits businesses to share business premises where the BLA, in its sole discretion, is of the opinion that any licences granted in respect of the premises can co-exist in a compatible manner.

If you wish to apply for co-existence would therefore suggest that you provide information about how, in your view, the businesses can both operate in the same premises. This can be provided in a letter accompanying the application.

Postal address

The OFT may only accept postal addresses in Gibraltar with applications.

Persons licensed under separate legislation

Business or professions regulated by any other enactment shall not require a separate licence under the FTA to carry on that business or profession. This includes, but is not limited to, a person carrying on investment business, a regulated activity or a controlled activity as defined in the Financial Services (Investment and Fiduciary Services) Act, a Supervisory Act or the Financial Services (Moneylending) Act, a gaming operators licensed and regulated by the Gambling Act 2005, licence holders under the Leisure Areas (Licensing) Act and port operators with a Port Operator's Licence issued by the Gibraltar Port Authority.

Application process

Notices

Any person intending to apply for a new licence, an extension to an existing licence or a transfer of a licence to another premises must, in accordance with section 73 of the Fair Trade Act, first give notice to the public of their intention to make the relevant application. This gives the public an opportunity to object to the application being granted.

Notices of an intention to make an application are made by publishing two completed copies of the following relevant forms:

  1. Form 1a - Notice of Intention to apply for a new Business Licence
  2. Form 1b - Notice of intention to apply for an extension to scope of licence
  3. Form 1c - Notice of intention to apply for transfer of licence to other premises

The first publication must be made in the Gibraltar Gazette. This publication is arranged directly through the OFT at its offices in Suite 975, Europort. The fee for publishing a notice in the Gibraltar Gazette is £20. The cut-off time for publications in the weekly Gazettes published every Thursday is noon on the previous Friday.

The second publication must be made in any newspaper circulating in Gibraltar at the time. This is arranged by the applicant directly with the relevant newspaper. Prices may vary between local newspapers however these are normally in the region of £50 to £70.

Please note that publishing these notices does not constitute an application (see below).

Please also note that the notice should include up to date contact details and a mandatory postal address from Gibraltar. Postal addresses from other jurisdictions are not accepted.

Applications for the transfer of an existing licence to another person are not required to publish notices and these applications may be submitted directly to the OFT using Form 2d (see below).

Applications

Seven days after the date of the latest notice of an intention to make an application has been published (see above), the applicant may then submit a completed  copy of ones of the following application forms:

  1. Form 2a - Application for a new Business Licence
  2. Form 2b - Application for extension to scope of licence
  3. Form2c - Application for transfer of licence to other premises

To apply for the transfer of an existing licence to another person the applicant may submit a completed copy of Form 2d - Application for transfer of licence where business is to remain on the same premises

Each application from must be accompanied by the relevant documentary evidence in support of the applications. A checklist of the relevant supporting information for each application is set out below:

  1. Form 2a - New business licence application supporting information checklist
  2. Form 2b - Extension to scope of licence supporting information checklist
  3. Form 2c - Transfer of licence to other premises supporting information checklist
  4. Form 2d - Transfer of licence to another person supporting information checklist

Should the premises from which a business shall be carried out require alterations, the relevant planning permission must be sought by making an application to to the Department of Town Planning & Building Control (Suite 631, Europort) prior to applying for a business licence.

For relevant fees please see below.

Objecting to applications

Any person who wishes to object to the issue of a licence may, in accordance with section 74 of the Fair Trading Act, give notice of his objection within seven days from the date on which the relevant notice has been published.

The objector must give notice of their objection to the issue of the relevant licence to:

  1. the BLA at the OFT's offices (Suite 975, Europort); and
  2. to the person named as the applicant in such notice of their objection .

The objection must be made using the relevant Form No 3 (see forms below). The filing fee for an objection is £90.

Unlicensed businesses

A person who trades without a valid Business Licence, or who contravenes the Fair Trading Act may be guilty of an offence and may be liable on summary conviction to a fine and/or a continuing fine.

The OFT has systems in place to identify those businesses who may be operating without a business licence. If you identify a business which you believe is operating without a licence please contact us and we will investigate it.

Fees

The following fees are applicable in respect of matters under the Act, namely issuing of, or renewal of business licences:

(a) Fee for an application for a new licence for a single business class £150
(b) Fee for the renewal of an existing licence with a single business class £100
(c) Fee for an application for a provisional licence – start ups £95
(d) Fee for each additional business class included on an application for a new licence £90
(e) Fee for an application to extend the scope of an existing licence by each additional business class £90
(f) Fee for application to transfer licence to other premises £90
(g) Fee for application to transfer licence remaining on the same premises £90
(h) Objection filing fee £90
(i) Fee for each additional business class included on a renewal for an existing licence £60
(j) Fee for application for a duplicate licence £35
(k) Inspection of register £5

Forms

Guidance Notes Download PDF  

 Approved Goods List

Download PDF  
 Notices    
1A Notice of intention to apply for a new licence Download PDF  
 Recommended - New Licence applicant checklist Download PDF  
1B Notice of intention to apply for an extension to scope of licence Download PDF  
 Recommended - Extension applicant checklist Download PDF  
1C Notice of intention to apply for transfer of licence to other premises Download PDF  
 Recommended - Transfer of Premises applicant checklist Download PDF  
     
 Applications    
2A Application for a new licence Download PDF  
 Recommended - New Licence applicant checklist Download PDF  
2B Application for extension to scope of licence Download PDF  
 Recommended - Extension applicant checklist Download PDF  
2C Application for transfer of licence to other premises Download PDF  
 Recommended - Transfer of Premises applicant checklist Download PDF  
2D Application for transfer of licence where business is to remain on the same premises Download PDF  
 Recommended - Transfer of licence applicant checklist Download PDF  
2E Application for a duplicate licence Download PDF  
     
 Objections    
3A Notice of objection to application for new licence Download PDF  
3B Notice of objection to extension to scope of licence Download PDF  
3C Notice of objection to transfer of licence to other premises Download PDF  

Cancelling your business licence

If you wish to cancel you business licence you may do so by submitting a cancellation form at the OFT's public counter. 

Further guidance

For further guidance about the various forms and how to complete and submit these please refer to the OFT's guidance notes.

We trust you have found the information provided above useful. If you have any questions however please do not hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or make an enquiry with the Business Support team.

Welcome

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is a regulator set up by Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar. It was established on 7th October 2015 and forms part of the Ministry of Commerce.

The OFT’s legal framework is enshrined within the Fair Trading Act 2015 and its subsidiary legislation. Its primary objectives are:

  1. to protect the interests of consumers and prevent harmful business practices;
  2. to ensure a fair market is maintained for all businesses in Gibraltar;
  3. to license and regulate Gibraltar businesses;
  4. to facilitate the establishment of new businesses in Gibraltar; and
  5. to prevent the laundering of illicit funds using high value dealers and real estate agents.

It shall meet these objectives by:

  1. encouraging businesses to comply with consumer law;
  2. by investigating and reviewing business practices which may harm consumer interests;
  3. by undertaking efficient licensing, regulatory and investigatory work; and
  4. by issuing information and educational guidance.

About us

The OFT is a statutory regulator set up by Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar to protect the interests of consumers in Gibraltar and to ensure a fair market is maintained.

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