RIGA - The European Parliament today passed a regulation intended to make cross-border shopping on the Internet easier, providing consumers wider access to products, hotel bookings, car rentals or concert tickets, LETA was told at the European Parliament's Information Office in Latvia.
The new regulation will allow consumers to freely choose the website for buying goods or services. Consumers may no longer be blocked or re-routed to a local website.
Under the new rules, online retailers in Europe will have to treat customers from another EU country in the same way as local customers. This means, they have to offer these customers the same prices or sales conditions when they buy goods, or when they purchase services not protected by copyright or services that are supplied in the premises of the retailer or in a physical location where the retailer operates.
Online retailers will also have to ensure same prices and terms for those clients who receive electronic services that are not protected by copyrights, like cloud computing, data storage and other services.
Geo-blocking in Europe doesn’t apply to all products and services that are being sold online though. For example, digital copyright content, such as e-books or a Spotify or Netflix subscription won’t be covered by these new rules, at least, for now. There is a review clause in the law, which means the European Commission must evaluated within two years whether the geo-blocking ban should also include such content.
The decision to end geo-blocking has yet to be approved by the European Council. The new regulation will take effect nine months after their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.