The Geoblocking Regulation of the European Union, which officially came into effect in December 2018, enables cross-border access to goods and services in the EU member states. This puts an end to unjustified discrimination based on nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market. The following information does not constitute legal advice and makes no claim to completeness.
By banning unjustified geoblocking in the European Union, consumers and businesses can, for example, purchase a service (such as hosting) in another EUcountry on the same terms as nationals. This prevents consumers and businesses from being disadvantaged.
All providers of web hosting and cloud hosting must harmonise country specific offers (harmonise functions, costs, payment terms, etc.) in order to fully comply with the new geoblocking regulation. If you live in an EU member state, you can freely choose in which country you would like to purchase products. Please note the possible differences in VAT rates in the different EU countries.
Further information can be found in the article Geo-blocking ban: what’s behind the new EU regulation
The Regulation (EU) 2018/302 of the European Parliament can be read here:
REGULATION (EU) 2018/302 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
Impact on Websites
If you operate a website or offer a paid online service, you may be affected by the geoblocking ban and should act now to comply with the EU Regulation. If you have implemented technical solutions for your website that deny or restrict visitors from other EU member states access to your offer or website, you should deactivate all geoblocking techniques used.
Even automatic redirects to country specific pages, which are switched according to the IP address of the visitors, must be completely removed. However, you can still offer country specific websites if the redirection takes place after the visitor's consent and they can return to the original version at any time.
Impact on Online Shops
If you operate an online shop and currently only offer delivery or collection of your items in some EU member states, you must now also offer this to customers from other EU member states. This does not mean, however, that you as a trader will in future also have to deliver to member states in which you have not previously offered delivery of your goods. It is still possible for you to offer country specific online shops with different offerings. However, then you must ensure that your customers in the EU can access all country specific shop pages without restriction and can also use the offers to the same extent as the customers of the respective EU member state. In summary, as a seller you have to fulfil the following obligations for European customers:
- Provide full and equal access to all services in the EU Member States, regardless of nationality and residence.
- Offer all goods and services in the EU member states on the same terms and conditions as in the member states in which you already trade commercially. However, you are not obliged to deliver your products to all EU countries, but may still limit your delivery area to certain countries.
The new EU Geoblocking Regulation does not apply to customers from non-European countries. The regulation is only valid for customers with citizenship of the 28 EU member states and non-EU citizens residing in the EU. The new rules also apply to countries belonging to the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
Impact on IONOS Products
As the new EU regulation may also require adaptations and changes for eBusiness and online marketing products, ordering one of these products in another country can have an effect on the functionality. Further information regarding the the affected IONOS products:
- Effect of the EU Geoblocking Regulation on the Online Shop
- Effect of the EU Geoblocking Regulation on the Online Accounting