The European Union has called an end to geoblocking for online shoppers. This means that ecommerce websites in the EU can no longer block visitors from other EU countries. The new law has come into force this week.
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 Bundeskartellamt, whose task it is to protect competition in Germany, will examine how Amazon operates in Germany. The main concern is that Amazon is an online retailer itself, but it also has opened its German marketplace for external vendors. Is Amazon abusing its market position?
There are easily over one million fraudulent online stores in Germany. And more than 4.4 German consumers have become victims of this online fraud. Criminals manage to steal consumers’ money mostly by setting up online popup stores.
In Switzerland, many online consumers are often subject to unexpected additional fees. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs now wants to oblige foreign online retailers that are active in Switzerland to list all fees customers need to pay when they order online.
Online retailers aren’t allowed to state a product is available soon’ on a product page. It’s too vague. That’s what the Oberlandesgericht in Munich decided after it reviewed a case against MediaMarkt, which used this phrase to promote the Samsung Galaxy S6.
The Senate in France wants to introduce a tax on ecommerce. More specific, on deliveries from ecommerce companies to online consumers. The upper house of the French parliament wants to do this to protect city centers and smaller businesses across the country.
The European Union has seen a steady increase in the number of rival products showing up in Google Shopping’s search ads. But this doesn’t mean the internet giant has done enough to avoid more fines on top of the 2.4 billion euro penalty Google got last year.
Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals says shopping cosmetic products in the online shop Wish.com is problematic. The main problem is that customers often don’t know what’s in the products they buy through this popular online store.
Members of the European Parliament have adopted a proposal to make the cross-border parcel delivery market in Europe more transparent and competitive. The European Union will implement new rules, which should lead to lower delivery costs for online consumers.
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.
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.