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Businesses EU The Internet

EU Agrees To End Country-Specific Limits For Online Retailers (reuters.com) 72

An anonymous reader shares a report: The European Union has agreed a plan obliging online retailers operating in the bloc to make electrical goods, concert tickets or car rental available to all EU consumers regardless of where they live. Putting an end to "geoblocking", whereby consumers in one EU country cannot buy a good or service sold online in another, has been a priority for the EU as it tries to create a digital single market with 24 legislative proposals. The agreement late on Monday between the European Parliament, the EU's 28 member states and the Commission will allow EU consumers to buy products and services online from any EU country. The agreement applies to e-commerce sites including Amazon and eBay.
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EU Agrees To End Country-Specific Limits For Online Retailers

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  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 22, 2017 @09:23AM (#55602485)

    As much as the EU heads try to fake it, the EU is not a single, contiguous market - there is a *huge* variation in what pricing the markets will bear between the "senior" economies of the UK (not as much an issue shortly), France, Germany etc and the "junior" markets of the eastern states, Spain, Portugal etc. This is why there is significant economic migration to the former countries from the latter - a lot of the money earned is sent back to the "junior" states to support families etc.

    Removing the geoblocking means that companies will migrate pricing toward the higher paying markets, which means the "junior" markets will lose out as Amazon etc will no longer be able to offer lower "market bearing" pricing specifically for them - which means its going to have an overall negative effect on the ability of those nations populations to buy online.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or they could just tack on shipping fees to normalize the price.

      • "Or they could just tack on shipping fees to normalize the price."

        Indeed. Personally I don't get it. Small retailer go to the post-office and pay for the shipment, the only thing they have to do is to have a list of costs for 28 instead of 2 or 3 countries.

        My post-office (Luxembourg) even has contracts with 2 Logistic companies in border towns, one in Germany (Trier) and one in France(Metz) who receive goods for buyers from Germany- resp. France-only shippers and transports them to us for 5 bucks from there

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      Alternatively, could it possibly give a boost to the bricks and mortar shopping experience in those 'junior' markets with the added benefit of a higher tax take for their governments?

    • by dabadab ( 126782 )

      Amazon etc will no longer be able to offer lower "market bearing" pricing specifically for them

      Thing is, there is no such pricing. It simply does not exist. Living in Eastern Europe and regularly shopping on Amazon (using an Austrian bank account and an Austrian delivery address) I have yet to notice any meaningful price difference between stuff on Amazon and in local shops (or for that matter between the prices of Lidl in Hungary and Lild in Austria).

      Sure, you can get a haircut, a dinner in a restaurant or

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Amazon etc will no longer be able to offer lower "market bearing" pricing specifically for them - which means its going to have an overall negative effect on the ability of those nations populations to buy online.

      I don't think you grasp how "market bearing" prices work. This pricing scheme is used to raise the prices of goods in richer markets, never to lower them in poorer ones. If the item wasn't profitable to sell at a certain price, they wouldn't have been selling it at that price to start with. The fact that they're charging more in the richer market means they just want even more profit (simple greed).

      This is especially egregious because we don't have "market bearing" pricing on the wholesale or labour side of

    • Do you honestly think this sort of economic migration does not happen within nation states as well? A lot of people have migrated from the country to the cities historically. The US even does it in cycles, people migrate from the countryside to the cities to go to college, work there, then retire back in the country (because of housing prices) then the cycle repeats itself over and over.

  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2017 @09:43AM (#55602605) Homepage
    Interesting - what if I'm trying to sell on eBay, can I no longer say "will post to UK only"? I'm not a merchant, just a private seller who auctions the odd thing off.

    (Obviously switch for any EU country there - the question is general.)
    • by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2017 @09:56AM (#55602705)
      FTA:

      However, consumers will still have to organize how to pick up a product if the company does not offer cross-border delivery.

      • by mccalli ( 323026 )
        Thanks. I should have phrased slightly differently - do I still need to sell to an entity outside of my country?

        At the moment I can decide as a private seller that I don't want the hassle of international dealings, whereas it looks like I can't do that anymore, whereas now it looks like someone could buy it, say they'll arrange collection etc. and then simply not do so (and yes, I've had that happen in the past which is why I stopped offering sales internationally).
        • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
          The article really didn't say. I would imagine it wouldn't apply to private sellers not running a business selling on ebay (just selling your random crap on ebay) but it's the EU so it's hard to say how they will view it. They could try to apply it to eBay as a whole, forcing ebay to say sellers can't georestrict.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Private sellers will likely be excluded, this only seems to apply to businesses. Obviously the buyer will have to pay more postage.

      Having said that, eBay has a global shipping thing now where as the seller you just post to a local depot in your country. From there eBay handles shipping it overseas, with the buyer paying all the additional costs. It works quite well.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Interesting - what if I'm trying to sell on eBay, can I no longer say "will post to UK only"? I'm not a merchant, just a private seller who auctions the odd thing off.

      (Obviously switch for any EU country there - the question is general.)

      This legislation is only for large retailers who use geoblocking on their websites.

      You'll be perfectly safe as there is no law requring you to ship to the whole of the EU, you just cant block someone in Romania from seeing it (which you already cant do with fleabay).

  • so 3pm games can be viewed in the UK under this? Non local sat dishes with cheaper plans?

    • From TFA:

      The proposal does not extend to copyright-protected content, which includes music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple’s iTunes, electronic books, television series and movies.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    TFA only mentions making products equally available across the bloc, nothing about equal pricing.

    Although it mentions copyright content is exempt e.g. Apple iTunes, since they (Apple et al.) argued it could lead to increased prices in weaker markets within the bloc. Perhaps this implies equal pricing across the bloc for non-exempt products, I don't know - if not, then I expect to see wider availability but geo-based pricing for products instead. Which probably defeats what they're trying to do with introduc

  • CARS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cloud.pt ( 3412475 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2017 @10:01AM (#55602745)

    Yeah. While they don't apply this to actual car purchases (read: not rentals), it still won't be a single market.

    The fact cars are taxed differently when bought in different EU countries, yet are forced to pay many of taxes again when one person decides to move the car between countries in a more permanent fashion, especially when the move is closest to purchase date. Which is really awkward when you think that at the very least, emission taxes should be homogenous across the EU, which apparently they are NOT.

    Currently, if you buy a car on another member of the EU, and you plan to bring that car to your country up to 6 months in of the purchase, you have to pay VAT over the car TWICE. Even if that car was purchased used. And when 6 months go by, you still have to pay a lot of taxes other than VAT for permanent legalization. Obviously due to these regulations (which are NOT very characteristic of a single market), things like same-model cars having upwards of 50% cost difference in across countries is pretty fucking common. It is actually one of the reasons why MANY in my country move to central Europe and work there for 2 to 10 years - specifically to amass salaries and expensive goods that are much more expensive in gross price but critically higher priced when local purchasing power is taken into account.

    I actually have friends that have moved to a country for a year or two in order to purchase cars there, one for them, another for their parners, then proceeded to use special rules that ONLY apply to long-term migrants to bring the car with them on return "for free". They basically made 3 times their salary in the stay, and bought cars that cost 2 years of saving at half price which is pretty much another year of "proffit" when compared to being in the origin.

    Well, but at least we can go back and forth freely and use cars in any country as we please without legal implications.

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