A new law has come into force that means UK shoppers cannot be blocked from websites in other EU countries. Furthermore, UK shoppers will be entitled to the local discounts that are being offered. This is an EU regulation, written into UK law so it will remain active when we leave the EU in March. However, the law may no longer be active if we leave the EU with ‘no deal’.
An End to Geo-Blocking
The EU commission survey discovered that 37% of websites let consumers from other EU counties go to the final step before the confirmation of their order.
The new regulation will see an end to geo-blocking, which is when websites refuse to give consumers access to their website due to their location. Usually, the sellers will redirect the consumers to a local store where the prices are different. However, the seller will not have to make sure the prices are the same on all their websites, but the websites do all have to be accessible to any customer in the EU, regardless of their location.
The new laws mean that:
- UK shoppers can buy something from an EU country website and be able to buy it at the same price as someone who lives in that country. You can even buy it if the website cannot deliver it provided you can arrange the delivery yourself or arrange to go and pick it up.
- Buyers in the UK don’t have to pay additional fees to buy services from websites in different EU countries.
- UK shoppers will be able to take advantage of the same discounts as those local to the EU website (such as special deals for the under 25s).
- Websites cannot refuse payment methods due to the location of the buyer. Websites still decide the payment methods they accept.
There are a few exceptions to the law such as when the national or EU requirements mean the trader needs to block the sale of services or goods.
This is great news for UK online shoppers and it may mean that you have some work to do on your EU websites.