Mar 07

Geoblocking: EU Parliament approves final text

The EU Parliament adopted the final text for the Geoblocking Regulation. Before the Regulation can apply it has to be formally adopted by the EU Member States Council and published in the Official EU Journal, most likely in March 2018. Within 9 months the Regulation will then apply. You can find bellow an EMOTA top 10 of what the Regulation changes and

what safeguards EMOTA managed to insert in the text:

Top 10 changes you should be aware off in the Geoblocking Regulation:

  1. Sellers are not allowed to refuse sales because of the nationality or place of residence (access to interfaces cannot be restricted, same conditions have to be available)
  2. Sellers have to collect and store consent for automatic re-routing (and keep the site the consumer tried to initially reach easily accessible)
  3. Websites have to be cross-border ready – meaning forms have to allow the input of cross-border data – non-domestic addresses, bank accounts, etc.
  4. Sellers have to give consumers access to similar payment methods as available nationally (no distinction between Mastercards
  5. Distribution agreements restricting passive sales remain valid for another 24 months from the moment of application
  6. Sellers have to sell B2B
  7. In the case of restricted access consumers have to be informed about the reasons for not having access in the language originally requested
  8. In case of bundled goods and services the seller has tooffer access to the bundle or to the parts of the bundle
  9. The Regulation applies 9 months from its publication in the Official Journal – expected for Dec 2018
  10. Applies to digital content

Top 10 Safeguards achieved by EMOTA and EMOTA Members:

1) Law applicable is that of the seller unless it was proven the seller was actively targeting consumers

2) The text says that the conditions for guarantees and returns, will be those applicable to the area the seller sells to (if the consumer takes the goods further the seller, in principle, is not liable for the return cost for the additional distance)

3) Sellers can change different prices and conditions as long as the other prices and conditions remain accessible and they are not based on nationality/place of residence

4) Sellers selling B2B have the safeguards that the goods purchased by the other B cannot be re-sold, transformed, rented – they have to be used for internal, end use

5) Sellers can ask payment in advance and delay the delivery until payment is confirmed

6) The tax applicable is that of the seller – as long as the seller does not have any direct or indirect involvement in the shipping – providing a link to a delivery operator can be considered as involvement in the shipping and trigger the application of the destination VAT rules

7) Sellers do not have to provide information on local – the cross-border consumer’s – standards and rules (labelling, product safety, etc.)

8) Sellers do not have to enter into new payments contracts only because of the Regulation (enter into contracts for new payments methods)

9) Consent for re-routing can be collected only once if stored

10) The EC was asked to produce guidance and there will be a report to assess if the Regulation imposes unjustified burdens

EMOTA is currently in contact with the EU Commission and other industry stakeholders for the development of guidance regarding the many issues around the application of the Regulation. It is expected that sellers will have to comply with the new rules as of November or December 2018 (exact date to be confirmed by the publication in the EU Official Journal).

Source:Razvan Antemir, Director Government Affairs, Emota