A draft regulation that would ban unjustified geoblocking has been given the green light by The Council of Ministers, as part of an effort to eradicate barriers associated with eCommerce in the European Union.
Geoblocking prevents consumers in any one country from having access to services and products on a website that is based in a foreign country, but the draft regulation has been drawn up to not only boost e-commerce, but also to remove discrimination based on customer’s nationality and place of residence or place of establishment, the Council stated.
The freshly-agreed rules will see traders banned from offering customers different terms, conditions or prices in three scenarios:
- Where the trader sells goods to be delivered in a country to which the trader offers delivery or to be collected at a location agreed upon with the customer
- Where the trader provides services that are received by the customer in the country where the trader operates, such as hotel accommodation, sports events, car rental, and entry tickets to music festivals or leisure parks
- Where the trader provides electronically supplied services, such as cloud services, data warehousing services, website hosting and the provision of firewalls
The Council has also cited that while price discrimination is off limits, price differentiation is not, as this will allow eCommerce stores to offer different general conditions of access, such as prices, and to aim at certain groups of customers in specific locations.
Furthermore, it will not be an obligation for eCommerce businesses to deliver goods to customers who reside in a country outside of where they offer delivery. Yet, traders aren’t allowed to apply different payment conditions for customers as a result of their nationality, place of residence or place of establishment.
The European Commission proposed measures in June to make it easier for consumers and companies to buy and sell products online across the EU.
For a more information on this new regulation, click here.