The Geoblocking Ordinance

The Geoblocking Regulation officially entered into force. Trusted Shops shows what traders now have to consider due to the change in the law. The Geoblocking Ordinance (VO) officially came into force on 3 December of this year. Online merchants have to adapt to numerous changes. Trusted ShopsTrusted Shops GmbH shows, what Shop operators must absolutely consider due to the new regulation.

Geoblocking can easily get bypassed by smartdns, see also A lot of people use it to watch their favorite series or sports outside the homecountry.

Geoblocking – what is that?

With geoblocking, an Internet user’s access to a certain website or other content is restricted due to his or her whereabouts. These restrictions are mostly due to the access request of IP addresses with a certain country code, but also in other ways – often shipping addresses are restricted, foreign means of payment are not accepted or billing addresses abroad are not possible.

Scope of application

The Geoblocking-VO is applied to customers. This term covers both consumers and companiesPrivate Business Cloud. However, companies are only protected in their capacity as customers, i.e. only to the extent that they purchase the goods or services without exploiting them commercially. However, it is still unclear how this end-user characteristic is to be verified.

Free access

Many OnlineFree Whitepaper Shops operate different country sites to which users from different countries are automatically redirected and are adapted accordingly in terms of language, payment methods and delivery conditions. Such forwarding will be prohibited in future. However, there are two exceptions to this principle.

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First exception: express consent to forwarding

If different versions of the shop exist for different Member States, the German customer calling up a French shop, for example, may in principle only be redirected to a German version of the shop with express consent – for example by ticking off in a pop-up.

In order to avoid having to obtain consent for forwarding each time anew, it should be possible at this point to store this information as a preference in the user account. In this case, however, it must be possible to revoke this consent at any time. In addition, the shop version that the user originally wanted to access must remain easily accessible.

Second exception: forwarding is legally required

In addition, this prohibition of redirection does not apply if it is necessary to comply with Union law requirementsPrivate Business Cloud or equivalent national requirements based on Union law and to which the provider is subject.

In this case, the provider must clearly explain the reasons for blocking, restricting or redirecting and state them in the language of the shop version originally accessed. This can, for example, be an advertising or distribution ban for certain products (e-cigarettes, medicines, dietary supplements, etc.) or for reasons of the protection of minors. At least with mixed assortments it becomes technically fast complicated here, if not all offered products are seized by such a prohibition.