Shopping in Europe without borders
New rules that will prevent consumers being discriminated against based on where they live have been adopted by MEPs in Strasbourg today.
ECR Flemish MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt, chair of the parliament’s internal market committee, has welcomed the proposals which should end the practice of consumers in different countries being charged differently for the exact same service, such as car rentals or tickets to amusement parks.
The new rules apply to all goods and services sold online, such as clothing and hotel bookings, although creative content such as films, music and ebooks will be excluded from the new legislation.
Speaking after the vote, Van Bossuyt said:
“From the end of this year, European consumers will have access to a much larger online market, which will allow them to shop around and search for the best deals.
“If a consumer wants to book a weekend at Disneyland through a French website, because they’ve found a cheaper deal there, will be able to do so without problems. This is logical in a real single market where consumers should be free to shop wherever they want rather than be automatically redirected.
While consumers will clearly benefit from the new rules, Van Bossuyt was keen to ensure that no undue burden was placed on businesses, who will still be able to apply their own national rules to online sales rather than 28 different sets of rules for each Member State.
Van Bossuyt continued:
“Companies should still be allowed to focus on particular markets, however if a consumer wants to buy something via a store in another country and receive their after sales service then they are free to do so. This will encourage SMEs to sell online throughout the EU without the fear that they will be subject to different red-tapes.”