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Don’t let the new geo-blocking rules ruin your Christmas

Posted: 05/12/2018

As the online Christmas sales rush continues, brands operating websites in more than one EU country should be careful to consider the implications of the new Geo-Blocking Regulations which came into force this week.

Under the new rules any blocking or automatic redirecting of customers who try and visit a webpage from another EU country is banned. Redirection is permitted if a customer has provided explicit consent, but any consent must be capable of being withdrawn. You should check if your website automatically blocks customers based on their location or redirects them without their consent.

In addition, online traders must treat customers from another EU country in the same way as a local customer, which means applying the same terms of delivery and payment means. If your website has country specific versions, it is important to check your terms of use are compliant without delay. You should also review the payment mechanism on the website to confirm that differential treatment is not being imposed to customers accessing the website from another EU country.

Looking beyond Christmas to the New Year sales, it is also important for brands to reassess their online sales and pricing strategies in light of the regulations. The new rules enable a consumer from another EU country to shop around online much more easily and potentially access the same product at a lower price in a different country. As a result, estimated sales figures for upcoming promotions may need to be reconsidered and discounting strategies adjusted accordingly.

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