Freedom of movement in the European area spreads on the web

Placing orders on any European merchant site of a multi-country brand is possible from Monday. But for French internet users, we will have to wait a little longer …

From Monday 3 December, the freedom of movement in the European area has increased. Already valid for citizens and goods, it is becoming so for Internet users. Until now, the smart ones who wanted to take advantage of the more advantageous prices practiced in Spain or Poland could seek to order on foreign sites: a ticket for a football match on an Italian site, a Gap sweatshirt on the Spanish site… But very often, multi-country brands sent consumers back to their country of origin (that of their computer’s IP address) via “geoblocking” methods. No matter how much you type an address in “.es” or “.pl” for Spain or Poland, you were redirected to the French site, with or without your consent. In this case, it is impossible to benefit from cheaper car rental rates in Italy or attractive high-tech promotions in Germany.

France even acts as a bad student

In practice, online businesses now have three obligations: to accept foreign credit cards, not to redirect Internet users to their country of origin and to charge the same prices and promotions regardless of the customer’s origin in Europe. In 2015, when it launched its Digital Single Market project, whose full application is announced for 2021, the European Commission estimated that 63% of websites were preventing the sale, in one way or another. . Today, she believes that the problem remains “significant”. France even acts as a bad student. For it to apply from this week, the authorities would have had to designate a control body and sanctions, before notifying Europe. What only six countries did well, like Denmark, Estonia and even the UK! But not France, which postponed the Pacte law until February, in which it takes up the subject.

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