Geoblocking: how to deal with the new EU ban

30. November 2018

On Monday, December 3, 2018, another regulation for the digital market came into effect.

The new rules against geoblocking remove restrictions on e-commerce in the EU – but what effect does this have on Danish webshops?

A comprehensive study conducted by the European Commission shows that while e-commerce in the EU is growing steadily at a rate of 20% annually, 63% of consumers are unsuccessful when they attempt to purchase goods or services from another EU country online.

This ban attempts to rectify this inequality by creating better conditions and thus a wider selection of goods and services for digital consumers in the EU. In practice, this means that companies are no longer allowed to discriminate or geoblock users in the EU based on nationality, country of residence or home country. This includes both B2C and B2B end customers.

Despite the goal being to make it easier for consumers and strengthen the European digital market, it is temporarily not as easy for companies to know how to comply with the rules.

Here is the IMPACT guide on how your business can adapt to the new regulations.

HOW TO COMPLY WITH THE GEOBLOCKING REGULATIONS
  • Access: You may not deny EU consumers access to your website / app or automatically redirect an EU consumer entering your site to another version – unless they have given their consent. (In other words, a Swede must be able to go to the Danish site without automatically being redirected to the Swedish version of the site).
  • Goods: You may not refuse to sell your goods to consumers or companies from other EU countries or offer them different terms of purchase – HOWEVER, you are not obliged to deliver goods to any EU country to which you do not already deliver. (In other words, a Bulgarian must be able to buy from your shop, but you are not required to deliver the goods to Bulgaria if your company does not already offer delivery to Bulgaria).
  • Payment: You may not discriminate against EU customers regarding terms of payment – HOWEVER, you are not required to accept card types that you do not already accept. (In other words: if a Dane can pay with Mastercard, a Frenchman must also be able to do so).
  • Services: You may not discriminate against EU customers who purchase your service online (e.g.  a hotel accommodation) regarding general trading conditions. (In other words, you may not change the general terms, conditions or price of a service provided in Denmark simply because a customer has a different nationality, country of residence or home country).
  • Digital Services: You may not discriminate against EU customers that purchase a digital service from you (cloud, data storage, web hosting, firewalls, etc.) regarding general terms and conditions – HOWEVER, this does not apply to copyrighted works (e.g. streaming music, e-books, software and online games), as well as financial and audiovisual services, transport, healthcare and social services.

 

If you would like to read more about geoblocking, the Association for Danish Internet Trade (FDIH) has created an excellent Q&A.

Vil du vide mere?

Contact Linnea if you are curious as to how geoblocking affects your webshop.