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EU prepares to end geoblocking in online sales of goods and services

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Angela Skipper
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The Commission wants to put an end to practices such as charging different prices for theme park tickets depending on the country of origin of the buyer, or showing visitors to an online store different product ranges depending on where they live.

Sending a parcel across a national border -- even an internal EU one with no customs barriers -- can cost five times as much as sending the parcel on a comparable journey within the same country, while the cost of sending a parcel from Spain to the Netherlands can be two-and-a-half times that of sending the same parcel the other way.

For example, under the draft law, Belgians will be entitled to order a refrigerator on a German website and collect it at the trader's premises or organize delivery themselves to their home -- but the German website will have no obligation to deliver to Belgium.

When it comes to payment, too, some kinds of de-facto geographical discrimination will be allowed.

If a website accepts, say, Visa cards, it must accept them wherever in the EU they were issued.

The Commission's proposed regulation is far from becoming law.

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Angela Skipper
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