Regulation (EU) 2018/302, which addresses unjustified geoblocking, applies from Monday 3 December 2018 in all EU member states (the ‘Regulation’).
The Regulation is aimed at restricting traders from blocking access to websites by customers from other European countries, preventing geographic discrimination through use of different online terms and conditions or refusal of means of online payment.
Who do the new Regulations apply to?
1. Traders – who are defined as natural or legal persons who act for purposes related to that person’s: trade business, craft or profession. The Regulation has ‘extraterritorial’
effect and means that traders do not need to be established in the EU for the Regulation to apply. The applicable test is whether they offer goods or services to customers in the EU.
2. Customers – who are defined as: (a) consumers who are nationals of, or have their place of residence in, an EU member state; or (b) undertakings which are established in an EU member state; AND they receive services or purchase goods, or seeks to do so, within the EU, for the sole purpose of end use. This means that the Regulation covers sales to businesses and not just consumers. However, the goods or services being purchased should be for end use and the recitals clarify that the Regulation is without prejudice to nondiscriminatory practices of traders limiting transactions or repetitive transactions, in order to prevent customers from purchasing quantities exceeding their internal needs.
Exceptions - the Regulation currently does not apply to audiovisual services, services in the field of transport and financial services / retail financial services.