European Commission: it is time to #STOPGEOBLOCKING!

BEUC NEWS - 05.04.2016

With its proposals announced for May and June the European Commission has promised to tackle geo-blocking in the Single Market. Geo-blocking happens when traders and suppliers of digital content erect artificial barriers to prevent consumers in other European Union countries from accessing their goods and services.

 

The first proposal will address geo-blocking in e-commerce i.e. when consumers are rerouted to another website after checking prices on a foreign website or when the trader unjustifiably refuses to deliver a product to the consumer’s country. The second draft law will look at how to help consumers access online audio-visual content, like films or sporting events, when they are in a country different to the website’s.

Together with our members we are launching this video to urge the Commission to stop such discriminatory practices. Consumers, just like traders, should have the right to benefit from the EU’s Single Market.

Imagine this happening to you when shopping... by BEUC_channel

In the EU’s Single Market we would never accept to show our passport when shopping on a high street or to pay a different price for a loaf of bread according to where we come from. Unfortunately this happens too often when going online.

In a resolution passed in January, the European Parliament heeded our call to stop unjustified geo-blocking. Now it is time for the European Commission to deliver its promise.

A recent Commission investigation showed that 38% of retailers who were checked gather location data from users and use it for geo-blocking purposes. 68% of digital content providers geo-block users located in other EU Member States and 59% reported to be contractually required by suppliers to geo-block1.

For more info about this issue please consult our position paper and factsheet.

 

1 European Commission: Initial finding on geo-blocking from e-commerce sector inquiry, March 2016