The European Union will make an end to unjustified geoblocking for consumers who want to buy products or services online within the EU.
The agreement, which emerged from a promise made at the EU Digital Summit in Tallinn in September this year to reduce geo-blocking practices, will offer EU consumers more options with regard to purchases made in the 28 Member States.
“This means that they can buy their new electric products online, rent a car or get their concert tickets across borders as they do at home,” said the government agency. “It will ensure that they no longer face obstacles such as the fact that they are being asked to pay with a debit or credit card issued in another country, which means more legal security for companies to operate cross-border.”
Consumers will be able to buy goods from any member state by default, instead of being forced to relocate to a local domain in the country that can offer a more limited selection of products or higher prices.
For example, a Spanish consumer can buy a trip directly from a website in French, without being forcibly redirected to a Spanish domain. A German consumer who wants to buy a refrigerator from a website in Spanish will now also have the right to do so. In the same way, a Bulgarian who wants to subscribe to receive accommodation services in Italy can do so and will pay the same fee as a local Italian buyer, instead of potentially facing inflated prices due to their location.
Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, added: “We are upgrading the EU Single Market to the digital world by giving consumers the same possibility to access the widest range of offers regardless of whether they physically enter a shop in another country or whether they shop online. Next stop: bringing down prices of cross-border parcel delivery, which still discourage people from buying and selling products across the EU.”
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, concluded: “Ending unfair geoblocking is a great step forward for consumers and the building of a real Digital Single Market working for all. Along with the end of roaming charges and portability, EU citizens will be able to buy their new furniture online, book hotel rooms or use their credit card across borders, like at home.”