Geo-blocking: What you need to know

Download our Geo-blocking business guide

Geo-blocking is the practice, by online traders, of using technology to restrict access to online cross-border sales for reason of nationality, residence, or place of establishment.

The practices include: denying consumers from other Member States access to websites, preventing these consumers from finalising their purchases, or asking them to pay with a credit or debit card from a particular country.

The Geo-blocking Regulation addresses these issues and obliges traders to treat EU consumers in the same manner, when they are in the same situation.

The Regulation applies to transactions which have a cross-border element. The new rules mean that:

  • EU-based businesses are no longer allowed to block or limit a customer from accessing their website based on their location, and they cannot automatically redirect a customer to a different online interface without their express consent.
  • In certain circumstances, businesses must provide consumers with the same access and possibility to acquire goods and services as local customers. In terms of setting prices, this means that a trader can have different prices on websites aimed at different territories, but customers must not be confined to buying from the website aimed at their location.
  • While traders are free to accept whatever payment method they wish, the Geo-blocking Regulation prohibits them from treating those payment methods differently depending on the location of the customer.
More information:

For more information about your obligations, including examples and a useful Q&A, download our Geo-blocking business guide.

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