The European Commission has proposed a new law to lift geoblocking of ecommerce customers from EU countries, eliminate discriminatory prices and upgrade cross-border delivery.
The first item on the new law is to eliminate geoblocking for customers inside the EU zone. Under the new legislation, clients will no longer be redirected to another website when trying to shop from abroad and they will not face discriminatory prices, sales or payment conditions, unless justified by legal requirements.
The regulation will also address price transparency and cross-border delivery. Currently, many EU consumers and small businesses complain about the high shipping costs from one country to another. Delivery rates can be 5 times higher for packages sent to another EU country than domestic shipping.
The new legislation will not force ecommerce merchants to offer EU-wide delivery. However, the European Commission plans to help consumer by giving national governments more authority over online retail websites. National governments will be able to check if a website uses geoblocking and will have access to information from domain registrars and banks to detect the identity of traders.
Compared to other countries, only a minority of EU consumers engage in cross-country ecommerce. In a recent survey by PayPal and Ipsos, only one-quarter to one-third of online shoppers in the UK, Germany and France had made a cross-border digital purchase in 2015.