Terms and Conditions for online sellers can no longer discriminate based on nationality or place of residence
After 3 December 2018, when the Geo-Blocking Regulation (the Regulation) comes into force, any sellers within or outside the EU can no longer discriminate against any customers within the EU on the grounds of nationality or place of residence. This includes both business to customer, and business to business sales.
Why does it matter?
Discriminatory acts include:
- blocking or limiting a customer’s access to the seller’s online interface, or without consent redirecting them to a different version of the interface entirely
- applying different general conditions of access to goods or services, and
- applying different conditions for payment transactions or refusing transactions.
In the UK, enforcement of the Regulation is handled by the Office of Fair Trading, Local Authority Trading Standards Authorities, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland, and as required, by the national courts. Exact penalties for any breaches are unclear.
There is, however, uncertainty on the applicability of the Regulation when the UK leaves the EU. It potentially will leave room for better terms for UK-based customers without breaching the Regulation, should it not apply after Brexit.
What action should you take?
- If you are an online seller, you must ensure that all your terms and conditions are the same across the EU, and that no customers within the EU have to use different interfaces when trying to purchase goods or services.