Tuesday, 21 November 2017

More consumer access to cross-border online services

The European institutions reached an agreement on further EU approach to "unjustified" geoblocking of online consumer products or services (EU negotiators agreed to end unjustified geoblocking). What does it mean "unjustified"? First, it would apply to situations where traders prevent consumers from other Member States to conclude online contracts for the sale of goods, even if traders are released from the obligation of delivery to the consumer's Member State. If the consumer undertakes to pick up the good at the trader's premises or arrange the delivery himself, preventing the sale of goods contract from being concluded based on the geographical location of the consumer seems unjustified. Also, when consumers wish to purchase electronically supplied services (such as hosting services for their websites), they should not be required to pay additional fees than consumers located in the same Member State as the service provider. The same should apply to the situation when the services are provided in a specific physical location, as it should not matter then who purchases these services. Does this mean that traders will now have to sell cross-border? No, there won't be an obligation to sell to consumers from other Member States, but rather an obligation not to discriminate against them, without a justification. It could be seen as unjustified to require consumers to pay only with the debit or credit card issued in the Member State of the trader's location. The plan is for the new Regulation to enter into force within the next year.

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