The European Commission proposed a package of measures today to allow consumers and companies to buy and sell products and/or services online more easily across the EU. The main three measures are: tackling geo-blocking, making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and promoting customer trust through better protection and enforcement.
1. Preventing geo-blocking:
When a consumer enters a brick and mortar shop in another EU country, the owner does not ask for the consumer’s ID in order to accept a purchase or to adjust the price or conditions. However, in the online world, consumers are often blocked from standard offers by re-routing the consumer back to a country-specific website.
That is what is called as geo-blocking – the fact that some online merchants block the access to their shop from other countries. It also includes situations where access to a website is granted but the customer from abroad is prevented from accessing the product or service.
2. Making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable:
Consumers and small businesses often complain that the high delivery charges in cross-border shippings prevent them from selling or buying across the EU. Prices charged by postal operators are up to 5 times higher than domestic prices, without a clear correlation to the actual costs.
That is why the regulation will give national postal operators the data they need to monitor cross-border markets and check the affordability and cost-orientation of prices. It will also encourage competition by requiring transparent access to cross-border delivery services and infrastructure.
3. Increasing consumer trust:
The Commission will also publish updated guidance on unfair commercial practices to increase consumer trust in e-commerce. That way, the Commission will be able to coordinate common actions with national enforcement authorities to ensure a swifter protection of consumers, while saving time and resources for member states and businesses.
For further info, read the complete press release from the European Commission.
For concrete info about the three measures, read the Q&A about the new e-commerce proposal.