10 December 2018
EU law makes it easier for people to shop online
New Geo-Blocking Regulation took effect on 3 December 2018 across the European Union (EU).
Geo-blocking refers to practices used by online sellers to restrict online cross-border sales based on nationality, residence or place of establishment.
The regulation seeks to prohibit unjustified geo-blocking, such as:
- blocking customers from accessing offers in other countries
- re-routing customers back to a country-specific website
- not accepting credit cards from other EU countries
- preventing people to register on a website based on their location
The new rules apply to a wide range of goods, as well as services such as web domain hosting and entertainment tickets for concerts.
The rules can also apply to certain business-to-business transactions, including cross-border cloud computing contracts.
The regulation has direct effect across the EU, although each country is responsible for applying its own enforcement mechanisms.
UK geo-blocking regulation
In the UK, the Geo-Blocking (Enforcement) Regulations 2018 have also come into force, arranging for the domestic enforcement of the new geo-blocking rules.
The regulations confirm that the Competition and Markets Authority is responsible for the UK enforcement of the rules. Under the UK regulations, customers can also raise a claim against businesses that breach certain provisions of the new geo-blocking rules where that breach results in the customer suffering loss or damage.
Find out more about geo-blocking regulation.