Geo-blocking is technology that restricts access to internet content based upon the user’s geographical location. The Geo-blocking Regulation (EU) 2018/302 was adopted on 28 February 2018. It applies in all European Union (EU) Member States from the 3 December 2018. The regulation prohibits discrimination based on a customers’ place of residence, nationality, or place of establishment in certain cross border transactions. Practices that prevent customers from accessing and purchasing products and services from a website based in another EU Member State are prohibited. It offers the following measures to protect customers:
- Prohibition of discriminatory blocking or limiting customers access to traders’ online interfaces and redirecting them to another interface without the customers prior consent.
- Prohibition on traders applying different general terms and conditions on customers access to goods and services based on a discriminatory factor such as location. This is also known as the ‘shop like a local’ principle.
- Prohibition on traders applying discriminatory payment conditions. For example, based on the Member State that a credit/debit card was issued.
These provisions apply to businesses selling goods or services in any EU Member State regardless of whether that business is based in or outside of the EU. It applies to both business to consumer transactions and business to business transactions where the business customer is an end user.
However, it is important to note that the current transition period for the United Kingdoms (UK) exit from the EU ends on the 31 December 2020, unless extended. It is unclear what relationship the UK will have with EU in the future, ‘deal or no deal’. The effects of EU regulations in the UK such as geo-blocking may change in the future.
There are many areas of law an e-commerce business should be aware of. Some of which may change upon the UK’s exit from the EU. Navigating and complying with all the relevant laws associated with a business can be complex and is time consuming. At Lawdit Stay Legal we offer a one stop shop solution to take away the stress of legal compliance. Our packages at different price points offer something for everyone. We now offer a free initial consultation to discuss your website, so don’t delay and book today.