ECC at your service, also as a point of contact concerning Geo-Blocking and the Services Directive
Your rights as a consumer don’t stop at the border. Nevertheless, sometimes you can't complete your (online) purchase in another member state because of these borders. Or you can’t access certain services on offer in another member state.
For example: you are automatically directed to a webshop’s .be website, or you can only pay with a payment card that is used in the seller’s country, or you can’t make a purchase because of your nationality.
Europe has introduced legislation which largely eliminates these borders and doesn’t allow discrimination based on nationality or place of residence, i.e. the Services in the Internal Market Directive and Geo-Blocking Regulation.
It applies to all cross-border purchases
The rules apply to all purchases, both online and offline, providing they are cross-border transactions.
- A consumer can buy goods without impediment in another member state from a trader who does not specifically target the country in which the consumer is based. However, the seller is not obliged to deliver outside their member state, e.g. you can buy a camera from a German webshop and arrange delivery at a delivery point in Germany, just like other German consumers.
- The sale of electronic services such as cloud services, webhosting, etc. Consumers are entitled to receive the services in the same way as local customers.
- The sale of services that are provided in a specific physical location applies to everyone, irrespective of the consumer’s nationality, e.g. tickets with a family discount for an amusement park.
These rules do NOT apply to the following purchases:
- transport services (except package holidays and linked travel arrangements)
- financial services
- audiovisual services (taking your digital film or music subscription with you when travelling in Europe is subject to other legislation).
- gambling services
- non-economic services of public interest.
The trader is entitled to reserve these types of purchases exclusively for consumers in the country in which the trader is based.
And does the seller have to deliver anywhere?
What is important is that sellers are not obliged to deliver in all member states. They can impose limitations. Does a seller refuse to deliver to Belgium? If so, you can organise and pay for delivery yourself. Or collect the order from an agreed collection point in the seller's home country.
We recommend that you read this page for further information on geo-blocking legislation.
What can ECC do on your behalf?
If you would like to purchase something from a seller in another member state and you are refused for reasons that seem to be suspicious, please let us know. We will investigate the refusal and check it against current legislation in order to give you legal advice.
Is the seller contravening the rules? If so, ECC Belgium will notify Belgian or European inspection services or the European Commission.
ECC Belgium acts as a contact point in the event of infringements associated with article 8 of (EU) Regulation 2018/302 pertaining to geo-blocking and article 21 of the Services in the Internal Market Directive 2006/123.