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OFT Licensing and Registration

Application forms

Application forms and inspections of premises help to ensure that only fit and proper persons conduct certain business activities and that their premises are appropriate and meet the relevant safety standards.

In some cases the Office of Fair Trading may attach further conditions to the licence Application forms
Application forms and inspections of premises help to ensure that only fit and proper persons conduct certain business activities and that their premises are appropriate and meet the relevant safety standards.

In some cases the OFT may attach further conditions to the licence or registration which may restrict the activity to certain times or places or require that annual returns are provided.

Fireworks licence

If you sell fireworks you have certain obligations under Isle of Man Legislation:

  • You must obtain a licence to store fireworks from the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading
  • Under the Fireworks Act 2004, you can only sell fireworks during the following periods:
    • i. the period beginning 25 October and ending 5 November
    • ii. the period beginning 26 December and ending 31 December

Outside of the selling period, a customer must give notice to the Department of Home Affairs and publish in a Manx newspaper - the date, time and location of the proposed firework display. A receipt from the Department of Home Affairs must be produced before a purchase of fireworks is allowed.

This period restriction does not apply to the sale of a firework to:

  • a professional organiser or professional operator of firework displays
  • a person whose trade or business is or includes the supply of fireworks
  • a public authority for a firework display
  • a person who has given notice to the Department of Home Affairs
  • a person who will use the firework as a special effect in the theatre, on film or on television
  • a person authorised by the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading for the purpose of carrying out tests as to the safety of fireworks
  • any establishment of the naval, military or air forces of the Crown for a fireworks display

Categories of fireworks

There are four categories of fireworks:

  • Category 1 - indoor fireworks - can be supplied to the general public
  • Category 2 and Category 3 - outdoor fireworks - can be supplied to the general public
  • Category 4 - must not be supplied to the general public

Category 4 fireworks can only be supplied to a restricted range of persons and organisations, for example to those arranging professional displays.

Licensing

To ensure public safety all retail premises where fireworks are stored must be licenced by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Strict conditions are placed on the licence with regards to:

  • the types of containers used for storage
  • the maintenance of the fire fighting equipment

More information on the storage of fireworks in retail premises and the conditions placed on licences can be obtained from OFT.

The OFT also enforces the law on the prevention of the sale of:

  • banned fireworks to consumers
  • fireworks whose construction does not meet safety standards (mainly imported from abroad)
  • those which are intended for professional displays and must not be sold to the public

A licensing and visiting program ensures that necessary safe storage facilities are in place on retail premises and that no banned fireworks are on sale or that boxes of fireworks are not being split.

Age restrictions

Please note the sale of fireworks is subject to age restrictions.

  • You must not supply fireworks to under 18s
  • No person under the age of 18 shall supply a firework to any person
  • No person shall cause or permit a person under 18 to supply a firework to any person

Fireworks do not include caps, cracker snaps, novelty matches, party poppers, serpents, sparklers and throwdowns.

Selling guidelines

Fireworks should be sold in manufacturers’ packed sets. The contents of these must not be taken out of their packs and sold separately. Only some sparklers and some larger individual devices may be sold individually.

Storing and displaying fireworks

Here are some of the key points: 

  • Exclude sources of ignition 
  • Stop people smoking anywhere near fireworks 
  • Keep fireworks away from space heaters
  • Avoid handling fireworks unnecessarily 
  • Keep fireworks in closed transport packaging 
  • Don’t decant fireworks into metal dustbins 
  • Don’t store fireworks near articles that could easily catch fire leading to the fire spreading to the fireworks 
  • Don’t store fireworks near other articles that could spread the fire
  • Don’t store with flammable substances such as white spirit or nylon tights and stockings 
  • Don’t store near pallets, cardboard boxes and paper 
  • Don’t store near parked vehicles 
  • Ensure that all fireworks in the shop sales area are kept in a suitable secured display or storage cabinet
  • Ensure all escape routes and fire exits are clear, fire exit doors unlocked and fireworks are not displayed near by
  • Don’t store, either in the shop or stockroom, more than the licensed amount 

Your firework supplier is also a useful source of information and advice.

Fire safety precautions

Your premises should already meet various fire regulations so what follows is extra advice for the period while you are selling fireworks and is not a complete statement of your obligations.

  • Don’t store fireworks in passageways or under stairs and keep these clear at all times. Don’t obstruct any doors.
  • Keep water-type fire extinguishers handy and make sure they are properly maintained. Buckets of water or sand are useful as a standby.
  • Make sure you (and any staff) know how to call the Fire Service quickly. Have a display notice that tells everyone what to do if there is a fire.
  • If someone suspects a fire, get everyone out of your shop and call the Fire Service immediately. As soon as the Fire Officer arrives, tell him or her that fireworks are involved and explain where and how they are stored.

Be a responsible retailer

As a responsible retailer, you should ensure your customers get essential safety advice.

  • Watch the age limit for buying fireworks
  • Do not sell to anyone under 18
  • Anti-social behaviour with fireworks can be a problem

Chapman's licence

Chapmen are those persons who seek to buy personal and household goods such as precious metals, antique furniture, crockery and jewellery. They may go from door to door or set up in a hotel.

The Office of Fair Trading is responsible for licensing such persons so that only those who are fit and proper come knocking on your door.

If you receive a visit from anyone claiming to be interested in purchasing any items you should ask to see their licence. This will be in the form of an A4 laminated licence with the Government crest. The licence will be signed by a senior officer of the Office of Fair Trading. You should make a note of the name of the chapman as shown on the licence.

If you have any doubts, don’t let the person into your home and contact the Office of Fair Trading.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to operate as a chapman without a licence.

Non-resident trader licence

Traders who reside off-island but who choose to do occasional business on the Isle of Man are considered to be Non-Resident Traders (NRT) for the purposes of the Non-Resident Traders Act 1983.

The Act requires any trader who is not resident in the Isle of Man and who intends to sell or expose or offer for sale or seek orders for the sale of any goods to members of the public in the Island to obtain a Non-Resident Traders Licence from the Office of Fair Trading.

No advertising is permitted until a licence has been granted.

To try to ensure a level playing field for Island traders, non-resident traders have to pay a licence fee to do business here. The fees for the licence depend on how long they are planning to do business on the Island.

Current licence fees:

  • £2,310 for the first three days for which the licence is valid and £350 for each succeeding consecutive day

If the trader is attending an event certified by the Department of Economic Development as being of importance to the tourist industry AND the goods are directly related to the event, then the fee is reduced to £470 but is effective for the duration of the event only.

See our guidance notes to assist you with your application.

Petrol licence

It is a criminal offence to store over 10 litres of petrol unless you are licenced to do so.

Strict controls are applied in relation to the storage of petrol to minimise the risk of fire, explosion, death and serious personal injury.

You must obtain a licence from the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (OFT) if you store more than 10 litres of petrol.

This applies wherever petrol is stored including:

  • in your home, in your garage
  • in a workshop
  • at motorsport events

The quantity stored does not include petrol kept in a fuel tank integral to any motor vehicle or motorbike.

If you currently store or intend to store any petrol on the Island, even if the quantity of petrol concerned is very small, you should contact the OFT to ascertain whether or not you need a licence to do so.

Licence costs

  • Licence to keep petroleum spirit in a quantity not exceeding 2,500 litres - £45 (up to 12 months)

  • Licence to keep petroleum spirit in a quantity exceeding 2,500 litres but not exceeding 50,000 litres - £87.50 (up to 12 months)

  • Licence to keep petroleum spirit in a quantity exceeding 50,000 litres - £175 (up to 12 months)

Reasons petrol is dangerous

  • Petrol is a highly flammable liquid.
  • Petrol gives off a flammable vapour at low temperatures. Flammable vapour will be present immediately after any petrol has been spilt within a tent or on a workshop floor.
  • There is always a risk of fire or explosion if there is a source of ignition for example someone smoking, having a barbecue or welding, in the presence of petrol or petrol vapour.
  • flammable atmosphere exists when the proportion of petrol vapour in the air is as little as 1% – it only needs a minute quantity (a teaspoon of petrol to create a flammable atmosphere).
  • Petrol floats on the surface of water and may, therefore, increase the risk of fire or explosion well away from where it escapes by travelling long distances along a water course such as a drain.
  • The presence of petrol vapour increases the risk of fire or explosion in places where there is little movement of air such as within tents, inspection pits or enclosed spaces, as it does not disperse easily and tends to sink to the lowest possible level.
  • Petrol vapour may increase the risk of fire or explosion well away from where it escapes by travelling long distances for instance between tents or across a workshop floor.
  • A flammable atmosphere may be present in any empty vessel (for example a fuel tank or a jerry can, in which petrol has been kept).
  • Petrol or petrol vapour may flash back over long distances to where it has escaped from (between tents or across a workshop floor).
  • Contaminating clothing or anything else that is absorbent with petrol, (rags, a towel or sand) increases the risk of fire or explosion.

Please note there is an age restriction on the sale of petrol.

Good practice

Here are a number of ways in which you can minimise the risk of fire, explosion, death and serious personal injury:

  • Avoid storing excessive quantities of petrol and store it well away from where people work and live
  • Prevent anyone under 16 years of age and unauthorised persons from having access to petrol
  • Store and carry petrol in specifically designed plastic containers or in metal containers, for example jerry cans, which are capable of being securely closed, free from leakage of liquid or vapour and conspicuously labelled PETROLEUM SPIRIT – HIGHLY FLAMMABLE
  • Keep all sources of ignition away from where petrol is being stored or handled including:
    • open flames
    • hot surfaces
    • sparks from electrical, welding or cutting equipment
    • static electricity
    • electronic devices (including mobile phones, chargers and tuning devices)
    • sparks from footwear
  • Secure the storage facility against theft and vandalism, ensure that it is adequately ventilated and ensure that there is adequate and appropriate fire fighting equipment to hand together with an adequate supply of an appropriate absorbent material or dry sand to contain any spillage
    • Safely dispose of any absorbent material or sand that has been used to contain a spillage.
  • Take precautions to prevent the escape of petrol or petrol vapour from where petrol is being stored or handled – avoid spillages by using containers that close securely and funnels
  • Use petrol as a fuel only – do not use petrol to clean components and do not attempt hot work on fuel tanks unless you are a specialist
  • Do not handle petrol, such as by draining or filling fuel tanks over drains or inspection pits, and only drain fuel tanks into an appropriate container (a jerry can) on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area (the open air)
  • Wear adequate personal protective clothing, including footwear and headwear.
    • If your clothing is contaminated with petrol, change as soon as possible and keep the clothing away from ignition sources
  • Pay attention to what is going on around you (for example someone having a barbecue adjacent to where petrol is being handled) and devise a fire safety plan including any designated escape routes

The above list is by no means exhaustive.

Enforcement

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is responsible for the enforcement of legislation relating to the storage of petrol at filling stations, in commercial and private can-stores and during motorsport events.

Video licence

Videos for sale and hire

All suppliers of age classified videos must be registered with the Office of Fair Trading.

All videos, except those declared exempt must have been classified by British Board of Film Classification who will either give the video a certificate or refuse classification.

Video classification

A video work is classified with regard to all the material on the recording media used (i.e. tape, CD, DVD etc.). So, for example, trailers for other films would be considered in a video’s overall classification.

You must not add any material to a classified video unless you will be submitting it to the BBFC for re-classification.

Categories of classification

  • U - Universal: suitable for all
  • Uc - Universal: particularly suitable for children
  • PG - Parental Guidance: some scenes unsuitable for young children
  • 12 - Twelve: Not to be supplied to any person below 12
  • 15 - Fifteen: Not to be supplied to any person below 15
  • 18 - Eighteen: Not to be supplied to any person below 18

Videos classified as RESTRICTED 18 must not be supplied in the Isle of Man. The maximum fine for supplying such a video is £5,000.

Exemptions

Works which are solely designed to inform, educate, or instruct, concern only sport, religion or music or comprise only video games are exempt from classification, unless they contain scenes of a violent or sexual nature.

Labelling Requirements

You need to check the labelling of both:

  • the cassette or disk – this must have the appropriate symbol on top of the spool on the face of the disk

and

  • the case – this must have the appropriate symbol on its front and spine, and a label which includes the symbol and an explanatory statement on the reverse side.

If you transfer cassettes or disks into library cases, you will need to have those cases labelled in accordance with the regulations. You do not have to label the front of transparent library cases if the label on the cassette spool or disk is clearly visible.

Fines

The maximum fine for selling or hiring incorrectly labelled videos is £5,000 per recording.

The maximum fine for selling or hiring an age restricted video to someone who is under that age is £20,000 and 6 months in jail. It is not an offence for children to buy or hire age classified videos when under age, only for you to supply them.

The maximum fine for supplying videos without being registered is £5,000.

Keeping Within The Law

  • check current stock and see that all videos have been classified
  • check new stock for labelling
  • make sure that cassettes and disks are in correctly marked cases both with the appropriate symbol and with the symbol and explanatory note
  • always observe any age restrictions on the video and make sure your staff do so – use our training log to monitor your staff's training

Good Practice Standard for Video Display

The following code is not mandatory as we understand the difficulties that video suppliers have with certain displays and at certain peak sales times which would make 100% adherence to this standard all but impossible.

However, we believe it would be in everyone’s interest if these standards were adopted wherever and whenever possible by all video suppliers.

  1. Videos classified 18 on the higher shelves, 15 and 12 at lower levels and PG, U and Uc at the lowest levels.

  2. If adult type-videos, classified 18, are stocked which have nudity displayed on the box cover, we ask that these are stored spine outwards from the shelf. These videos should be displayed well within the 18 section, preferably marked ADULT and should not be easily viewed by under 18s and especially by under 12s.

  3. From time to time there may be posters promoting videos that might cause offence to certain members of the public. We will advise you of these posters and request that you do not display them, or if you do display them, you display them only within the registered premises in a way that makes it impossible for them to be casually viewed from outside.

  4. Although it is not illegal for an underage person to serve customers with videos classified above their age, we ask that such staff be supervised by an over 18 to avoid problems that may arise due to peer-pressure.

  5. Some suppliers show videos on tv screens within their premises for use by their own staff or for promotion. Wherever these displays can be seen by customers within the premises or by the general public from outside the premises, we ask that only Uc, U or PG certified videos be shown.

Licence exemptions

Your may be exempt from the video licence if your business does not at present supply age-classified videos (that is those videos with a 12, 15 or 18 classification) and does not intend to do so in the future.

You will need to complete an exemption form declaration.

Architects registration

The Isle of Man's Architect Act makes provision for preventing unqualified persons from practising or carrying on business as architects and for the registration of architects. 

Only individuals who apply for registration in the prescribed manner, pay the prescribed fee and satisfy the specified qualifications for registration may be registered.

How to register

To apply to be on the register, please contact the Office of Fair Trading on +44 1623 686500 or by email.

Current Fees

  • Registration/re-registration in the Isle of Man Register of Architects - £40 (up to and including 31 March in any year)

  • Retention of a name in the Isle of Man Register of Architects - £30 (from and including 1 April in any year)

Registered architects

Isle of Man Register of Architects

Relevant legislation 

Under section 2(1) of the Act, the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (‘the OFT’) shall establish and maintain the Isle of Man Register of Architects (‘the Register’). 

The Regulations prescribe the contents of the Register, however, to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Principles, and in particular the First Principle which relates to the fair collection and the fair and lawful processing of personal data, the OFT would ask that you note that some personal data has not been included in the Register. Contact details supplementary to the prescribed particulars have been included with the permission of the architects concerned.

Hard copies of the Register are available from the OFT.

Under section 1(1) of the Act, no person shall —

  • (a) practise or carry on business under any name, style or title containing the word architect; or
  • (b) take or rise any name, style, title or description implying, or otherwise pretend, that he or she is an architect, unless he or she is an individual and is registered in the Register.

There are specified exceptions, e.g. use of the designation ‘landscape architect’.

Any person who contravenes section 1(1) of the Act shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable —

  • (a) on conviction on information, to a fine;
  • (b) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £5,000.

The Regulations prescribe rules of conduct to which individuals registered in the Register are subject and the name of an individual can be removed from the register if he or she is found guilty of misconduct following an inquiry.

Moneylenders registration

Anyone other than a bank or other exempt organisation who runs a business of lending money in the Isle of Man must be registered with the Office of Fair Trading.

Also anyone who collects money on behalf of a lender must be registered.

Only people who are fit and proper to act as moneylenders will be registered. This prevents unscrupulous businesses from driving people into unregulated borrowing at exorbitant rates of interest.

Moneylenders register

The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is required under the Moneylenders Act 1991 to maintain a register of persons carrying on a business of lending money in the Island. The register is available for inspection during office hours.

How to apply

If you wish to apply for registration you will need to forward a completed application well in advance of the date on which you intend to commence lending.

Application form for a body corporate

Application form for an individual or partnership

In addition to the application form we will require supporting documentation, details of which are set out in the application form.

These include:

  • a business plan
  • a bank reference
  • an accountant or advocates reference in relation to the potential moneylender
  • personal and bankers questionnaires for each official holding a key position in the company

The assessment process for registration involves a thorough evaluation to ensure the applicant and its key officials are fit and proper to operate a business of lending money.

Therefore, all individuals who hold key positions must be notified to the OFT.

Where the applicant is a company these include the directors, resident manager, controllers and Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) of the company. Each named person should submit a Personal Questionnaire and a Bankers Questionnaire.

The Moneylenders Act 1991 defines Resident Manager and Controller as follows:

  • Resident Manager: Where the applicant is a person, this means an employee of that person or in the case of a firm or company, a partner in the firm or a director of a company who is resident in the Island and responsible in the Island for the applicants business of lending money.
  • Controller: In relation to a company this is a person in accordance with whose directions or instructions the directors of the company are accustomed to act or who either alone or with any associate is entitled to exercise or control the exercise of one third of the voting power at any general meeting of the company.

Exemptions

If the lending which you undertake is an exempt transaction as defined in the Moneylenders (Exempt Persons and Exempt Transactions) (No.2) Regulations 2013 you do not need to be registered.

If you do not loan money but provide other forms of credit such as hire purchase or credit sale facilities, trading checks or credit cards you are not required to be registered.

Carrying on a business in the Isle of Man

This is a matter of fact. If any aspect of your business is carried on to any extent in the Island then you are covered by the Moneylenders Act 1991. The various activities which would make up ‘carrying on a business’ include amongst other activities the formulation of policy on the lending of money, the marketing of the lenders services, the processing of applications for loans (including the decision on whether to grant or refuse an application), the entering into of contracts for loans and the collection of repayments.

If you intend to lend to consumers outside the Island then you should check with regulatory authorities in the jurisdictions into which the loans are to be made as whether registration is required there too.

Anti Money Laundering compliance

Moneylenders are covered by the Designated Business (Registration and Oversight) Act 2015 (‘the DB Act’). The DB Act places responsibility on the Financial Services Authority (‘FSA’) for the oversight of the adherence of certain businesses, including moneylenders, to the Island’s Anti Money Laundering (‘AML’) and Countering the Finance of Terrorism (‘CFT’) legislation. 

Moneylenders conducting relevant business must register with the FSA before they commence trading. The FSA’s oversight role is in relation to AML/CFT compliance only - registered Moneylenders will still retain their current status with the OFT.

In general, the more complete the application, the simpler (and quicker) it is to process. Applications may be submitted with certain items marked 'to follow'.

Fees

There is a non-refundable fee of £500 payable to 'Isle of Man Government' at the time of application with registration being for a period of 3 years.

Further advice

You are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with the Moneylenders Act 1991 before applying for registration.

Further advice regarding applications for registration is available from the Office of Fair Trading. However, please note that whilst OFT staff can assist and guide you in your application for registration, the OFT does not give legal advice and, in cases of doubt or difficulty in establishing whether you are required to register as a moneylender, applicants should seek legal advice.

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