Today, the European Parliament has approved rules that put an end to geoblocking on ecommerce websites in Europe. As a result, online shoppers in Europe will have wider cross-border access to products, hotel bookings, car rentals or concert tickets. Consumers may no longer be blocked or re-routed to a local website. But geoblocking in Europe still won’t be fully implemented, critics emphasize.
Laws and regulations
As ecommerce become an increasingly mature business, more and more laws and regulations come in place. This is also because Europe desperately wants to have one, unified ecommerce market. The Directive on Consumer Right is one of these examples. As of 13 June 2014 it replaced certain directives and it’s focused more on protecting the online consumer than the European Union did before.
The finance ministers of the European Union have agreed on simplified tax rules for online retailers. So, instead of registering for VAT in each EU country, online retailers in the future will be able to file a single tax return for the entire European Union. This should reduce costs for ecommerce companies and increase the tax revenues of EU countries.
The European Union will make an end to unjustified geoblocking for consumers who want to buy products or services online within the EU. According to the union, these new rules will boost ecommerce for the benefit of consumers and businesses.
Luxembourg has granted illegal tax benefits to Amazon of around 250 million euros. As a result, Amazon paid substantially less tax than other businesses. Because of this unfair tax advantage, the European Union has now ordered Amazon to pay back 250 million euros in taxes to Luxembourg.
More and more ecommerce companies fail to register with product responsibility organizations even though they are acting as distant sellers. This makes it hard to get hold of the responsible person and to enforce the extended producer responsibility obligations. Some voices are now saying EU states should oblige online sellers to take on the duties of producer for the products they sell on behalf on non WEEE registered companies.
Google has decided to split off its own shopping service, Google Shopping, so it would meet demands from the European Union. The EU wasn’t particularly happy with how Google displayed product search results, prioritizing results from Google Shopping in favor of results from competitors.
The Turkish government wants to make global ecommerce companies liable for taxes on goods that are sold directly to Turkish customers. The government has proposed a draw law for this, the Turkish Minister of Finance said today.
France, Germany, Italy and Spain want digital giants like Amazon and Google to be taxed on total revenue generated in EU countries rather than profits. The initiative was launched by the French finance minister and is set to be presented to all 28 EU finance ministers this Friday.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union isn’t making things easier for British ecommerce companies. After last year’s Brexit vote, some online retailers say it’s now harder to hire staff for their warehouses.
About four in five adults in the UK think that online food retailers should give the same kind of information about the product’s country of origin on the website as there can be found on food packaging in supermarkets shelves.
The European Commission wants to set up a website to display the cross-border delivery rates offered by logistics companies. With this new initiative, the EU wants to make cross-border parcel delivery services more transparent and better monitored.
The European Commission has opened an investigation into the distribution agreements and practices of the major American clothing brand and retailer Guess. It wants to find out if the retail company restricted retailers from selling online to customers in other European countries.
The German online food startup Delivery Hero confirms it has plans for an initial public offering later this year. It will issue new shares on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, in hopes to raise about 450 million euros.
Linking to the Online Dispute Resolution platform, an EU solution aimed to help online shoppers settling disputes with merchants across Europe, is obliged for all online retailers in Europe. But does this also apply to for sellers on Amazon? The higher regional court in Dresden decided this isn’t the case.
Several online stores, including Amazon, Zalando and H&M, were fined becauses their online promotional campaigns were considered to be misleading. One of the things done was increasing the price and then apply a discount, so it looks like the product is now very cheap by comparison.