Online shopping– An EU regulation comes into force that allows consumers to purchase goods and services in any store in Europe. Without barriers due to nationality or residence.
The Internet is not only the biggest showcase in the world, but it is on the way to be the largest store. Given the speed at which electronic commerce grows. In the European Union (EU), it does so at a rate of 22% per year … and each time with fewer barriers! From today consumers can buy goods and services on the EU website they want. Even if the company does not have an online store in the country to which the customer belongs.
What advantages does this new regulation have for the consumer? In addition to ending geographical discrimination. And access to all products at the same price and under the same conditions as a natural citizen of the country of origin. It is likely that the application of the regulation will lead to a decrease in prices. In the following lines we comment on what this new standard consists of and what is left out of it. As well as explaining the benefits it entails for the consumer and the obligations that this entails for the seller.
A rule against the discriminatory geographical blockade
December is synonymous with purchases. In less than a month, it is time to gather around the tree and arrive with homework that is, loaded with gifts. To fulfill the Christmas tradition, many people make their purchases online. And from today they can do it in any store in the European Union, without suffering the geographical block. To end this practice, the European Parliament drafted Regulation against the unjustified geographical blockade, which is now in force.
Geo discrimination can also occur when goods and services are purchased offline. It happens, for example, as Virgil’s comments, if a consumer is physically present in the place where the merchant is.
What the regulation says that today comes into force
The new rules, as the European expert clarifies, define three specific situations in which, right from the start, there is no justification or objective criteria to give different treatment to customers from different Member States:
The sale of goods without physical delivery. For example, a Spanish customer wants to buy a refrigerator. And finds the best offer on a French website. The consumer can order the product and pick it up at the operator’s premises or arrange delivery at home.
The sale of services provided electronically. This would be the case of a Portuguese buyer who wants to acquire data hosting services for her website from a Spanish company. Now you will have access to the service . And you will be able to register and obtain this service, without having to pay surcharges with respect to a Spanish consumer.
The sale of services rendered in a specific physical place. An Italian family can hire a trip directly to an amusement park in France, without having to go through an Italian website.
In addition, the new norm prohibits the application of different prices and conditions according to the nationality. The country of residence or the location of the client.
The advantages of the regulation for the consumer
The entry into force of the regulation is excellent news for European consumers. Because it means that they can buy their new appliances online, rent a car. Or buy tickets for concerts in other countries exactly as they do in their own.
The elimination of barriers is guaranteed, so now it can be paid with a card issued in the client’s country of origin. And for companies, what does it mean? For them, the regulatory novelty means greater legal security in their cross-border operations.
By prohibiting different prices and conditions depending on nationality, customers can have access to the supply of goods. Or services from many more countries in the EU. Therefore, competition between suppliers of goods and services is expected to increase and prices to fall. But what is certain is that, as of today, consumers will have greater freedom of choice when it comes to searching for goods and services.
The obligations of the seller
How does the regulation affect the other party to a purchase? The general obligation for sellers is to offer the same treatment to all EU customers when they are in the same situation, irrespective of their nationality, place of residence or place of establishment, Virvilis points out.
But the regulation does not impose the obligation to sell and does not harmonize prices. However, it addresses discrimination in access to goods and services in cases where it cannot be justified in an objective way.
Services excluded from the new standard
Are there articles or services that do not affect this new mormativa? Yes. As the press officer points out, the following services are excluded from the scope of the regulation:
- Services in the field of transport. Other EU legislation already explicitly prohibits discrimination in respect of airline, bus and coach tickets or inland waterway transport. However, package travel and related travel services are covered by the new regulation.
- Financial services.
- Audiovisual services. The rules relating to this sector fall within the scope of other legislative acts of the EU.
Christmas online shopping
This year, Christmas purchases will be made online. Specifically, a third of Europeans recognize that the online channel will be their way to make their respective purchases compared to 38%. Who will acquire their products through devices such as smart phones or tablets. 38% will do it through smart phones
These data are revealed from the study carried out by Intel on shopping habits at Christmas, after conducting a survey in ten European countries such as Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Russia and Sweden.
This study ensures that, for men, technology is the preferred gift (41%), followed by gift vouchers (13%). And clothing (10%). While for women, technological devices are in third place (18%), surpassed by gift vouchers (22%) and health and beauty products (20%).
Despite these figures, technological devices are the most desired, since more than half of the respondents, 51% specifically.
If we talk about marking an average budget, 71% of the Europeans surveyed set one, although 31% admit that it exceeds that marked budget. In this area, the Germans stand out as the most disciplined (86%). The Swedes the least (42%) and the Italians stand out as the most wasteful (41%).
By sex, men are the most generous. And is that on average, the most expensive gift made by men will add 125 dollars to the most expensive of women. However, when it comes to Christmas online shopping, only 12% of Europeans recognize being highly organized, compared to more than 60% who make most of their purchases in December.