Geo-blocking, which prevents consumers to purchase consumer goods and accessing digital content online from a certain country, is widespread in the European Union. A survey has shown that 38 percent of retailers selling goods and 68 percent of retailers selling digital content said they geo-block consumers located in other EU member states.
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 Online Dispute Resolution platform, aimed to help online shoppers settling disputes with merchants across Europe, still doesn’t offer exactly what it meant to do. The consumer tool was launched officially in February, but still five countries – including big ecommerce markets Germany and France – haven’t connected yet.
The American retail federation welcomes the new, tentative privacy agreement on transfers of personal data between the US and Europe and says officials should quickly implement this measure. “Failure to renew this agreement would create a new trade barrier that would bog down global commerce and drive up costs for businesses and consumers”, NRF says.
Running an online marketplace from somewhere in Europe used to be very complex, with all the different tax rules. But since the beginning of last year each company that sells digital goods is forced to collect VAT based on the country of residence of each buyer. This didn’t make it easier. A European startup explains why.
The European Commission today presents a proposal which equalizes the guarantee period for consumers who shop online in all member states. If this proposal is accepted, it will be a major change for consumers and retailers in Europe and could really boost cross-border ecommerce.
Next year, all retailers in the European Union need to prominently state that customers can exercise new dispute resolution rights, provide a link to the EU website explaining these rights, and state whether the store opts in or opts out of the EU scheme. Here’s what you should know about this alternative dispute resolution.
Ecommerce Europe, a pan-European association for online retailers, does not totally agree with the European Commission with regards to the Single Market Strategy it presented today. It welcomes the policy proposals the Commission has made, but the ecommerce association recommends not to create parallel legal frameworks. Ecommerce Europe wants the same rules for online and offline sales.