EU online shopping is set to become easier after December 3 as legislation comes into effect preventing geo-blocking.
The legislation, approved by the European Parliament in February 2018 and due to come into effect on Monday, compels online traders to treat customers browsing from other Member States the same regardless of their location. The new rules cover EU online shopping for goods, electronically supplied services such as cloud storage or firewalls; and offline services such as concert tickets and hotel rooms.
Róża Thun, who pushed the EU online shopping legislation through Parliament, said: “This is another step forward in creating a true single market where all consumers are treated equally. When buying products abroad, all of us will now have the right to be treated like local consumers. We can no longer be denied access to the sale of goods and provision of some services. Sometimes we might need to arrange for a parcel to be delivered with another delivery service provider, because the seller is not delivering the product to our country. However, the seller can no longer say to us: ‘I’m not selling this product to you because of your nationality, place of residence or location’.”
The legislation came about after a European Commission study into EU online shopping found that 63 per cent of commercial websites in the EU would not let customers in other Member States buy their products or services. The share of Europeans buying goods and services online has doubled in the last 10 years; and consumers across the EU have expressed demand for easier cross-border online shopping.
Ms Thun said: “Europe needs concrete solutions for all of its citizens. We need a European single market with no borders and no barriers. The European Parliament negotiated hard with Member States for this EU online shopping deal to apply already from the beginning of December, so that Europeans can benefit from a larger choice when doing their Christmas shopping. After roaming, after portability, I am really proud that, in cooperation with the European Commission, we managed to find a solution to the problem of geo-blocking. This will serve millions of citizens.”