The EU ends geographical barriers to e-commerce
To whom has it not ever happened that when buying online, their purchases are blocked or redirected to websites in other states of the European Union? Well, the European authorities seem to have found an answer to this problem. Negotiators in the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council have reached a consensus to end these types of restrictions.
Finally, the European Union has reached an agreement to end barriers to electronic commerce. Everything seems to indicate that the agreement will come into operation at the end of 2018. Among the products and services affected are vehicle rental, electronic devices, clothing or tickets to concerts.
Exemption for content protected by copyright
However, it should be noted that several fundamental elements in electronic commerce are left out of this agreement: music, series, films and transport. The reasons for these exceptions are that these products are particularly sensitive, so it would be necessary to develop specific regulations. The culture sector has been against putting an end to these last geographical barriers, arguing that they could prove fatal for its businesses.
The purpose of the regulation agreed within the European Union is to put an end to geographical barriers in online shopping. This would eliminate the need to make payment with a credit or debit card from a certain country and avoid being redirected to the local page of the company where the purchase process has started.
The European institutions have emphasized that it is not intended to regulate the market nor is it seeking a harmonization of prices. For this reason, the approved regulations do not impose the obligation to sell and allow merchants to freely set prices.
Thus, the new regulations allow price differentiation, not price discrimination. Sellers will be able to offer their products in different geographical areas and with different access conditions, among which you will of course find the price.
We must highlight three specific cases in which geo-blocking is strictly prohibited:
1-In the commercialization of products in which there is no physical delivery: Let's imagine that a buyer finds a product on the website of another country. The buyer has the possibility to purchase the product. However, the customer will have the responsibility to collect the product and take care of receiving it at home as long as the company does not have a delivery service in other countries of the European Union.
2-The sale of electronic services: Suppose that the client wishes to acquire a series of electronic services. You will be able to access the service and register without paying additional fees to those that would be paid in the country of the company that offers such services.
3-The commercialization of services provided in a specific physical establishment: Services can be purchased without the need for the client to be redirected to the company's local website.
Andrus Ansip, has been very enthusiastic about the approved regulation. Ansip, as vice president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, has declared that "an end to unjustified discrimination" and has indicated that the new regulation "will be a reality from next year."