What can Europe do about ‘geoblocking’, which is limiting cross-border online commerce within the EU?
Point of view
(Geoblocking) means...practices by the sellers that do not allow consumers to buy from another country. For example, consumers often get frustrated when, at the end of the purchasing process online, they get a message that says: well, unfortunately, we do not deliver to your country
Responding to the question, Ursula Pachl, Deputy Director General, BEUC, (European Consumer organisation based in Brussels) says: “There are many reasons why consumers actually do not so much buy cross-borders, only 15% of all consumers who do this today.”
“Many reasons are linked to a lack of trust, so consumers worry about what happens if something goes wrong, or they worry about the delivery, will the product be really delivered to me when I pay in advance, but one important reason that we hear a lot about today, is so called geoblocking.
“It means that there are practices by the sellers that do not allow consumers to buy from another country. For example, consumers often get frustrated when at the end of the purchasing process online, they get a message that says ‘we do not deliver to your country’.”
“They are re-routed to a national online shop because the seller has national websites and wants the consumer to buy from the national site because probably there is a higher price that the consumer has to pay.
Digital single market
“Now, what we have seen on 06/05/15 is actually very promising, it’s a fully-fledged strategy of the European Commission about the digital single market. The Commission recently announced that they would conduct a sector-wide investigation for anti-trust competitive behavior.
“We think that there are a lot of practices which are actually a fragmentation of the market and which are put in place by the businesses voluntarily. Now, it really should be looked at whether these practices are anti-competitive and if so, the European Commission should take action against them.”
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