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Online stores will not be allowed to geo-block buyers from other EU member states

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOnline buyers will have more freedom in purchasing goods, book rooms in hotels, and purchase tickets for music festivals, BNN was informed by European Parliament.

In accordance with new rules, consumers will be able to freely pick the website from which they can buy goods and services, and traders will not be allowed to limit access to their services based on consumers’ geographical locations.

Traders will have to apply the same rules for all buyers from all European Union member states – ensure equal prices and conditions to all customers who:

-buy goods (household appliances, electronics and clothes) and pick delivery to a member state in which the trader is authorized to work or has an agreement for deliveries in other EU member states;

-receive electronic services not protected by copyrights – such as cloud, data storage, website hosting services and others;

-procure services provided within the office space of the trader or the location where the trader is active.  This includes reservation of hotel rooms, sports events, car rent, music festivals or leisure parks.

European Parliament notes that new rules will not permit application of different conditions to consumers based on the place of issue of their payment cards. Although traders will still be able to pick the most appropriate forms of payments, they will not be allowed to deny payments based on a single criterion (for example, reject a payment card solely based on the issuing country).

New rules will not be applied to content protected by copyrights – for example, e-books, downloadable music or online games. The European Council will have to provide a report in the next two years on whether or not geo-blocking should be applied to content of this kind. Rules will not apply to audio-visual or transport services for now. Their possible inclusion on the list will depend on the European Commission.

«This new EU law on geo-blocking is an important step towards an even more competitive and integrated Digital Single Market, for both consumers and traders. It also represents another milestone in the fight against the discrimination of consumers based on their nationality or place of residence, which should never be taking place in our united Europe. We have proven that the European Union can deliver concrete results for the citizens all over Europe, bringing positive changes in their daily lives,» said Róża Thun (EPP, PL) rapporteur.

She added: the new rules were approved by 557 votes to 89, with 33 abstentions.

The agreement on geo-blocking regulation still has to be approved by EU Council. New rules will come into force nine months after their publication in EU Official Journal.

The parliament reminds that 63% of online stores checked by the European Commission in a study do not allow buyers from other member states to use their services. Geo-blocking most often applies to household electronic appliances (86%). For services, geo-blocking is applied to online booking of tickets for sports events and entertainment (40%).

In the past ten years, the number of EU residents who shop online has nearly doubled.

Ref: 224.109.109.5262


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