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And then..., what is Geoblocking?

In previous posts we have already announced the modifications to the Law against Geoblocking. In today's publication we offer you a summary of the main areas affected with simple explanations. As we know the main objective of this law against Geoblocking is to ensure free and non-discriminatory buying/selling in the euro zone. Alright, we know that there are modifications that have started to be implemented in December 2018, but... Do we really know what it consists of and how it affects the retail business?

Don't worry! In this post we offer you a summary of the main areas it affects with simple explanations. Because, let's face it, the legislative field is not made for everyone... Here we go! 😉

How does it affect Accessibility?

Accessibility

First of all, the Regulation prohibits any blocking of a web domain without the prior consent of the consumer. That is to say, cannot be automatically redirect to a specific domain. In addition, even if he/she gives his/her consent, the original version he/she wished to visit should remain accessible at all times. Ex: A French consumer wants to access the German version of a website. Although she types in the URL of the German site, she is still redirected to the French site, but she has to be careful! As of December 3rd, this situation is being sanctioned.

On the other hand, any European user has the right to access to both all versions a merchant's website, such as to all products from the catalog regardless of your IP address.

How are payment methods defined?

Methods of payment

The merchants have freedom to decide the terms of payment that they accept, but in this case they must establish the same for all Member States.

On the other hand, they can only refuse payments if there are objective and well-justified reasons. An example would be the inability to assess creditworthiness of the customer or if there is risk of fraud in the operation.

How should Customer Data Collection be carried out?

Data collection

According to the law against Geoblocking, the form of the contact or billing information cannot be designed in such a way that only support coordinates for some countries (e.g. postal codes or telephone numbers). Any European internet user should be able to include this data in a valid way without any discrimination.

The same is not true for the shipping coordinates. If a country offers shipping to a specific number of countries, you can continue to use the address formats to which they correspond.

Regarding the payment acceptanceforms should be designed to accept the forms of payment available for any Member State. For example, if a merchant accepts credit cards, it must allow the completion of data for any card issued in the Single European Payments Area (SEPA).

How are Delivery and Collection Policies regulated?

Shipping Policies

An ecommerce can specify different shipping methods depending on the country and in is under no obligation to offer collection points throughout Europe. according to the law against Geoblocking.

The user may require shipment to the collection point of his choice as long as this is provided for in the terms and conditions where the user makes the purchase. If the merchant declares to ship to the chosen country it may be required, otherwise not.

If shipment to the country requested by the user is not covered, the user may negotiate an intermediate pick-up point where the merchant operates, and the user will be responsible for shipment the rest of the way (both contracting and payment).

What about Bidding and Pricing Strategies?

Offers and Promotions GeoblockingThe merchants have the freedom to assign the prices and promotions you want for each country and to promote the company's different catalogs.

What has to be taken into account is that any customer from another European country must be able to have unrestricted access to any catalog or offer. Under no circumstances can forced redirections be made to Internet users based on their IP address (main premise against geo-blocking).

It is important to take into account that as well as the user benefits from the promotions of the chosen domain, he/she must also abide by the shipping policies and general conditions described therein.

How is VAT applied on a case-by-case basis?

Geoblocking VAT application

In the event that a merchant operates internationally selling physical products, it shall to register for tax purposes in the country to which the sale is destined and must VAT will be charged accordingly.

If we talk about companies that offer digital services such as Netflix or Spotify, the company has been able to must be registered for tax purposes in the country where it resides and the Imputed VAT will be that of this same destination.

With this information you will already have a clearer idea of how to adapt your domain and operate at an international level after the new European Regulation.

We hope you found it helpful and we look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions! 😉

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