Can I sell online at different prices?
New Regulation EU 2018/302 on measures to prevent unjustified geographical blockade and other forms of discrimination.
On December 3 of this year an EU Regulation 2018/302 of the European Parliament came into force, which is European in scope and whose main purpose is to eliminate the barriers and differences existing within the European internal market and which cause unjustified discrimination in the European Union. electronic commerce according to the nationality or country of residence of the purchaser and which ends up being translated into different purchasing conditions depending on where or from where the purchaser buys.
Of these discriminatory acts, known as “geoblocking” are acts such as; block or limit access to a website or platform, apply different conditions of purchase or delivery of the product, limit the payment modalities according to the nationality or country of residence of the purchaser, etc.
Scope of application of the Regulation EU 2018/302
To what does it apply? To goods and services directed to final consumers or companies / merchants (clients) that acquire it only for final use (there are no lucrative purposes).
Who is obliged to comply with the provisions of this regulation?
- Any company / merchant selling products delivered online or to an EU Member State in which the company / merchant usually offers this delivery service or delivered to another EU Member State agreed with the consumer.
- Any company / merchant that offers services electronically or that the consumer or customer receives the services in a physical place where the company carries out its activity.
- Does not apply to online sales delivered outside the EU
- Does not apply to sales made in favor of other companies or merchants for profit.
The final consumers or non-profit businesses and merchants have the right to request non-discrimination in terms of access to online interfaces, in terms of access conditions to products and services (among other price conditions) and payment methods and therefore in some circumstances that will be described below, to demand that they apply the same conditions that would apply to other consumers or customers established in Spain or in any other EU State.
Specifically, this regulation obliges companies and traders engaged in the sale of online products to:
1. DO NOT block or limit the access of the clients to their online interfaces, not to redirect this client to a version of the online interface different from the one that the client had tried to access initially by virtue of the use of a language or other characteristics associated with a nationality or place of residence, unless the client gives his express consent before the redirection.
2. DO NOT apply different payment terms to a payment transaction for reasons related to the nationality, place of establishment or place of residence of the consumer or customer.
3. DO NOT apply general conditions of access other than products or services provided for reasons related to the nationality, establishment or place of residence of the consumer or customer when it is intended to:
- Buy from a merchant products or services with delivery of the product in a Member State in which the merchant offers that possibility.- Receive from a merchant services that are provided electronically.
- Receive services from a merchant, which are services that are provided electronically, in a physical place in the Member State.
Only in those situations does the Regulation oblige the customer to be able to purchase products in exactly the same conditions as for those who are residents of the Member State in which the delivery is made of the products takes place deliveries of products at their domicile do not have to apply the same conditions of access (including price) that in other Member States. Thus:
- Same general conditions of access: In the sale of products online with delivery to a Member State where the merchant offers this possibility (s) or has delivery points in an agreed place where between merchant and customer, is obliged to apply the same sale price (and other conditions) if the customer is going to pick up the product wherever or independently from where the customer buys.
- Different general conditions of access: in the sale of online products delivered to the domicile when there are no delivery points pre-established in that Member State, you are not obliged to apply the same sale price (and other conditions).
Regulation EU 2018/302: General conditions of access
By “general conditions of access” the Regulation understands all the conditions and other data, such as the net sale prices, that regulate the access of the clients to the products or services offered by a merchant, which establish, apply and be made available to the general public by the merchant and that are applied in the absence of an agreement negotiated individually between the merchant and the customer.
The same article 4.2. it also provides that even in cases where the requirements for applying the same general access conditions are met, there may be differences if they are justified and are not discriminatory.
Therefore, unless these differences in contracting conditions have a fair reason for being and that in no case is it a difference due to the nationality or residence of the purchaser, the same conditions must apply. In any case, the Spanish control and sanctioning authorities have not yet been created and it will probably take months and therefore there will be no immediate persecution, however it is a European regulation in force that is fully effective.
If you have any doubts about it, we can advise you and help you taking into account the characteristics and operations of your business and find a way to comply with the new European requirements.