EU ends unfair online shopping practices

Online shoppers across Europe should benefit from fairer pricing following the passing of EU laws aimed at end unfair pricing.

Today sees the a new regulation aimed at removing unjustified geo-blocking across the continent, meaning that consumers will no longer be blocked or redirected away from a website due to their location.

Despite online sales across Europe increasing 22 percent per year, many online retailers still impose restrictions on cross-border orders or payments. Research by the EU found that nearly two-thirds of sites in Europe did not allow purchases from another EU country, or blocked shipments to foreign customers.

No more geo-blocking

The new regulations also outline a non-discrimination rule in payments, meaning that although businesses remain free to offer whatever payment means they want, they will no longer be able to discriminate against customers based on their choice of payment.

"We want a barrier-free Europe, which implies, among other things, the removal of barriers to online commerce,” said Andrus Ansip, the vice-president of the digital single market.

"But this achievement does not stand alone to make e-commerce more comfortable and easier for consumers and businesses alike: it is an important piece of the puzzle together with more transparent and affordable cross-border parcel delivery prices, simpler value added tax rules for e-commerce and stronger consumer protection."

The EU says that the new rules are another victory for consumers on the continent following the abolishing of roaming charges across Europe and the coming of GDPR, as well as opening up new opportunities for businesses to reach millions of potential new customers.

It will examine the effects of the regulation in March 2020 to assess its effects.

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