Geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination (Regulation)
The EU Commission is planning to ban geo-blocking and other discrimination based on nationality, place of residence or establishment in order to improve cross-border online trade in goods and services. In cep's view, the bans will only rarely result in customers buying more across borders.
It is questionable whether the EU has the power to ban geo-blocking and other discrimination because the Regulation creates new legislation rather than harmonising existing national provisions. The proposals also give rise to legal uncertainty for online traders because the latter do not know which consumer protection law (their own or that of the customer) will apply to them in future.
Geo-blocking: When trying to buy online in other EU countries, customers are sometimes unable to visit a foreign website. In other cases, they are able to visit a foreign website but cannot buy goods, e.g. because the supplier does not accept payment cards from banks based in other countries. Such discrimination in relation to cross-border online shopping, based on nationality or place of residence or establishment, is known as "geo-blocking".