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[EU] European Commission agrees to end unjustified geoblocking

CoviCovi BelgiumMember Posts: 207
More info about this topic can be read here in their press release.

I wonder if this will also mean that TLG will have to stop with their EU-different shops and prices.
If I interpret this correctly this will mean that every resident of the EU should be able to order from which shop he wants (which is now not possible in case of TLG).

Any other thoughts/insights?

Comments

  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,790
    No. It specifically says 'The Regulation does not impose an obligation to sell and does not harmonise prices.'

    Also, it defines 'three specific situations where no justification and no objective criteria for a different treatment between customers from different EU Member States are conceivable from the outset.'

    These are: The sale of goods without physical delivery; The sale of electronically supplied services; and the sale of services provided in a specific physical location.

    None of these relate to the sale of physical products, except the first. Even in that case, the additional cost of arranging delivery yourself would mean that it would probably be cheaper to buy it in your own country anyway. I'm not even sure it applies to toys, as they specifically give examples of furniture or electrical goods.
    sid3windr
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 1,471
    Not referenced in the press release, but seems to relate to this draft 2016 Commission regulation (CELEX 52016PC0289).

    As there's no details on the agreement published yet (probably in the next couple of days), it's unclear how much the draft will change. However a quick read-through doesn't seem to impact S@H much, if at all. Maybe they might no longer be able to exclude shipping freight forwarding services in their T&C?

    Kerrekiki180703
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    I doubt it will have any impact at all for LEGO sales. I expect it will cover all goods, not just furniture and electrical goods, but only where they are collected (the without physical delivery part).  I imagine freight forwarders can be excluded too, since companies should still be able to do credit card checks with addresses and refuse any where the address they ship to does not match the registered address.

    I wonder how many (cheaper) online businesses still allow you to collect things like white goods anyway (so excluding places like Currys and other stores with premises). Most seem to do delivery only now, as they don't hold stock themselves but essentially drop-ship from a third party warehouse.
  • KerreKerre In a bar, under the sea.Member Posts: 276
    edited November 21
    It will have an impact on the way LEGO conducts business in the EU, albeit a minor one. 

    The sale of goods without physical delivery is key here is. For Amazon for instance,  nothing changes at all as long as delivery at a pickup location in the country of the seller is possible. In many countries this is already in place. 

    LEGO will have to slightly tweak their model. As a Belgian, I cannot order from the DE site for DE pickup. Would LEGO tell me to only use the .be site then they're effectively geoblocking me. To be in compliance with the regulation, all LEGO has to do is make it possible for me to pick up an order in Germany though. Delivery to Belgium is not required as that's not a scenario described in the press release. Should LEGO claim they're already in compliance since a Belgian can go to their German physical shops that is not going to be accepted. The ranges offered are not the same and as a Belgian consumer I cannot really place a German order like a German can.

    Like any legislation, we'll have to read the eventual EU regulation though. A press release has no legislative value.
    sid3windr
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 1,471
    edited November 21
    @Kerre As a non-German resident, I can already buy a set from S@H DE for delivery to a German address today. So TLG already complies with articles 14, 15 and 18 (the main ones related to the scenarios highlighted in this thread) of the draft regulation.

    @CCC Articles 24 and 25 seem to exclude the payment discrimination: unjustified unequal treatment for reasons related to the location of the payment account, the place of establishment of the payment service provider or the place of issue of the payment instrument within the Union should be expressly prohibited as well.

    The impact analysis linked to the draft regulation talks rather positively about freight forwarders and how some businesses discriminate against them. None of the exclusions in the regulation apply to freight forwarders either. So potentially improved access to those would already be a big win for me.

    Disclaimer: IANAL and this is a draft regulation only.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    Kerre said:

    LEGO will have to slightly tweak their model. As a Belgian, I cannot order from the DE site for DE pickup.
    Can a German order from the DE website for pickup in Germany? As a UK customer, I don't think I have ever seen a collection option for UK users. Online sales from S@H are all for delivery.

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    stlux said:

    @CCC Articles 24 and 25 seem to exclude the payment discrimination: unjustified unequal treatment for reasons related to the location of the payment account, the place of establishment of the payment service provider or the place of issue of the payment instrument within the Union should be expressly prohibited as well.

    As far as I understand, not shipping to a freight forwarder is not discriminating based on the location of the payment account, the place of establishment of the payment service provider or the place of issue of the payment instrument.

    They aren't discriminating based on location of the payment account if the forwarder is, say, in Germany and the buyer in France - they are refusing to ship to an address that is different to the account owner's address (registered with the card). So essentially fraud prevention.
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 1,471
    @CCC Reading article 25 I'd say that's a "fraud prevention" argument the seller might no longer be able to use. After all S@H today already allows me to ship to a different address than my payment address. (in my case: my office).
  • KerreKerre In a bar, under the sea.Member Posts: 276
    CCC said:
    Can a German order from the DE website for pickup in Germany? As a UK customer, I don't think I have ever seen a collection option for UK users. Online sales from S@H are all for delivery.

    That's another issue entirely. This regulation is not about equal treatment of domestic and EU consumers. It's about (or rather seems to be, again I need to read the draft regulation itself and then it's the eventual actual regulation that will have legislative power) about non-domestic customers not having access at all to a specific part of the market domestic customers have. As a domestic customer, you have access to the UK LEGO webshop*, I don't have that access. The easiest way to access the shop for non-domestic EU customers would be make pickup in some form accessible, analogous tot the white goods example in the press release. That's also why I mentioned it. Nothing prohibits LEGO from opening an EU-wide webshop with the same prices for everyone and delivery at cost of course. *Yes, yes... Brexit. I know. I also wholeheartedly agree with @stlux 's use of quotes above.
  • KerreKerre In a bar, under the sea.Member Posts: 276
    edited November 21
    stlux said:
    @Kerre As a non-German resident, I can already buy a set from S@H DE for delivery to a German address today. So TLG already complies with articles 14, 15 and 18 (the main ones related to the scenarios highlighted in this thread) of the draft regulation.

    I disagree. Having a delivery address in Germany is on par with German residency in this case (for delivery/ownership transfer purposes of a purchase transaction; not for citizenship/tax residence... definition of course). You're either having the delivery made to a German resident you know, a German branch of a company you work for, a second home you have or something comparable. These are far from easy to get if you don't have them. 

    No. It specifically says 'The Regulation does not impose an obligation to sell and does not harmonise prices.'

    Also, it defines 'three specific situations where no justification and no objective criteria for a different treatment between customers from different EU Member States are conceivable from the outset.'
    Not also but rather however. The EU sees three specific situations that are not objectively justifiable hence it tries to address them with this new regulation. If you substitute the fridge in the first example with "A LEGO set", it's exactly the situation I'm in. I can go to a German LEGO store and hope the item is in stock when I arrive, but that's not completing an order, is it?

    From the Press Release:

    It shows that in 2015, less than 40% of websites allowed cross-border customers to complete a purchase. 

    LEGO shop is currently part of that 40%.
  • KerreKerre In a bar, under the sea.Member Posts: 276
    ^Aargh! LEGO shop is NOT part of that 40% 
    Aleydita
  • arathemisarathemis sometimes here, sometimes thereMember Posts: 198
    Well, I live in Romania. I have some relatives in Germany. So I use shop.lego.com/en-de/ and order the sets I want to be delivered at my relatives home. When they come visit (once or twice a year) or when I go and visit them (once a year) I get my sets and bring them home.
    I even went to a phisical store and bought something there and received the VIP card which I then linked to my online account. So now I can also make purchases in phisical stores other than Germany and have VIP points added to my account (like the slave 1 set that I bought when visiting US).

    So, I dont really see what this new law brings to the table for me personally, as I could use the existing infrastructure to buy from shop.lego.com so far, even if there isn`t a "Romania" region.
    We do have local Lego certified stores, but prices are about 10% higher compared to DE euro prices (I guess because of the exchange rate risk). So for big sets it makes sense to purches them from shop.lego.com. Not to mention that some sets get discounted there, and you get freebies like the gingerbread house etc.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    Kerre said:
    CCC said:
    Can a German order from the DE website for pickup in Germany? As a UK customer, I don't think I have ever seen a collection option for UK users. Online sales from S@H are all for delivery.

    That's another issue entirely. This regulation is not about equal treatment of domestic and EU consumers. It's about (or rather seems to be, again I need to read the draft regulation itself and then it's the eventual actual regulation that will have legislative power) about non-domestic customers not having access at all to a specific part of the market domestic customers have. As a domestic customer, you have access to the UK LEGO webshop*, I don't have that access. The easiest way to access the shop for non-domestic EU customers would be make pickup in some form accessible, analogous tot the white goods example in the press release.
    You do have access to the UK shop. You just change the location. However, you cannot checkout, as you cannot change the country for delivery. They only deliver within the UK. If you want an order delivered to a UK address, then you have exactly the same access as a UK user. If you want it delivered to a non-UK address, again you have exactly the same access as a UK user wanting it to be delivered outside the UK - they will not deliver outside of the UK.

    The important point is "The sale of goods without physical delivery". LEGO S@H UK site doesn't allow collection, whether you are a UK user or from abroad. They only deliver to UK addresses. So EU customers are treated exactly the same as UK ones - you can get something delivered to a UK address. If they allowed collection (for UK users) from the warehouse, then they'd have to allow you to order from S@H from a non-UK country and come to the UK to collect it.

  • KerreKerre In a bar, under the sea.Member Posts: 276
    edited November 21
    CCC said:
    You do have access to the UK shop. You just change the location. However, you cannot checkout, as you cannot change the country for delivery. 
    If there is no way to check out as a Belgian I don't have access to that website as a Belgian. This is what "It shows that in 2015, less than 40% of websites allowed cross-border customers to complete a purchase" refers to. I cannot complete the process as a cross-border customer.

    CCC said:
    The important point is "The sale of goods without physical delivery". LEGO S@H UK site doesn't allow collection [...]

    I realize they don't allow collection. I suggested starting to allow collection would be  one potential way to comply with the regulation. 

    CCC said:
    LEGO S@H UK site doesn't allow collection, whether you are a UK user or from abroad.
    see above.
     
    CCC said:
    They only deliver to UK addresses. So EU customers are treated exactly the same as UK ones - you can get something delivered to a UK address.
    That makes as much sense only accepting cash but saying cash and debit card customers are treated equally. Both can pay cash.

    Without a UK adress, I'm effectively locked out of the UK shop. This is exactly what the EU is claiming to act against. If I would have a UK address, I'm no longer a cross-border customer, I've become a domestic customer.

    CCC said:
    If they allowed collection (for UK users) from the warehouse, then they'd have to allow you to order from S@H from a non-UK country and come to the UK to collect it. 
    Correct. This would be one way to comply with this new EU regulation. (Doesn't have to be the warehouse itself, plenty of other options). Al lot of companies do it this way. Tesco does it. Amazon does it. Asda/George does it. Plenty of Belgian retailers do it too, even the really crappy ones. You should come over and try them at least once!

    Another way for TLG to comply would be to start delivering to other EU countries from the UK S@H. If they'd stubbornly refuse any form of pickup in the UK though, they'd have to deliver to all EU countries. That's how you have to read without physical delivery. It's the only way the refrigerator example makes sense.They don't have to do this however, just allowing pickup "at the warehouse" suffices. 

    Just a thought: nowhere is written that the warehouse has to be in an easily accessible location. Maybe Stornoway is an option? Pembrokeshire? Cornwall?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    I thought the refrigerator example made sense as it is. You can log in from Belgium and pay using your Belgian payment card then either collect it yourself from the company premises or you arrange delivery by yourself, presumably with the courier going to the company premises to collect it on your behalf.

    I read it as for "the sale of goods without physical delivery" it is not justified to discriminate based on location. Whereas "the sale of goods with physical delivery" it is justified to discriminate based on location, as it is not covered by one of the three situations. That is, a company can ship within their own country but not be forced to ship to every nation of the EU. But if they allow collection, then they have to accept orders from foreigners using their payment card if either the customer comes to collect or the customer arranges delivery by themselves.
  • KerreKerre In a bar, under the sea.Member Posts: 276
    ^That's how I read the refrigerator example as well. It only makes sense as a "to be" situation though. There must be a reason why that Belgian currently cannot complete the ordering process as described but a German customer can, hence the need for regulation. That reason could be not having a German delivery address. Another reason - willfully ignored by me until now - could be only accepting certain German payment methods the Belgian does not have access to. I've never encountered that second issue in real life though as credit cards and/or PayPal seems to be a universally accepted additional option.

    I mostly agree with your second paragraph. The only thing we're not in agreement of seems to be order collection. Where you consider collection something a seller can choose to allow or not, I see it as the only option to be able to have access the goods if the seller does not ship to the customer's country. But once the seller does ship to that country, the regulation no longer applies indeed. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,242
    Kerre said:

    I mostly agree with your second paragraph. The only thing we're not in agreement of seems to be order collection. Where you consider collection something a seller can choose to allow or not, I see it as the only option to be able to have access the goods if the seller does not ship to the customer's country. But once the seller does ship to that country, the regulation no longer applies indeed. 
    I don't think the EU are trying to force businesses to ship to all EU countries. If a seller ships only domestically and does not allow collection from their premises (like many warehouse operations), then they are offering the same service to all people of the EU, no matter where they live. A UK customer can have the item delivered to a UK address, a Frenchman and German can also have the items delivered to a UK address. But these sales seem to be explicitly excluded from the situations they have highlighted. They are sales with delivery, whereas the situation in that document is an order placed for collection. If the company does not allow collection, then it appears not to apply to them.

    I used to encounter some problems when trying to use foreign sites (especially for services such as hotels and transport) when you constantly got redirected to the UK version where prices were different. But that was 10+ years ago, most sites now do allow you to purchase rather than forcibly redirect you.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 588
    It is exactly that @ccc - if an EU business decides to ship internationally within the EU, they must ship to all EU nations as it's illegal to discriminate on the basis on country of residence. That said, I'm sure there are plenty exceptions or workarounds that can be employed to avoid it.

    One thing to remember, even it someone living in, say, France, were allowed to order from the German online Lego store, the price would invariably be different than displayed. This is because once a company's sales in any member state reaches a certain threshold, they are required to begin charging the VAT rate of the destination country on those sales. You can check this by adding something to your cart in Amazon Germany, the price at checkout - once your delivery address is known - will be different to the price you expected.
  • Muftak1Muftak1 Somewhere cold, probably rainingMember Posts: 187
    From reading this thread, I've just realised that Lego won't allow me to use AddressPal - which is a service the Irish Post Office have set up for people to have items sent to a UK address that wouldn't normally ship outside UK.

    I'd never had an issue so far, and I went and put money (EUR) in my paypal account and transferred to GBP so I'd be able to pay using paypal (not available on the Irish S@H site). Now I'm going to have to reconvert and lose out on approx €50. 

    I was going to get the Falcon (it would have saved €50 off the Euro price by getting it from the UK).

    Anybody know what Lego's excuse for not letting us use these services is?
  • asrfarinhaasrfarinha Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 108
    Muftak1 said:
    From reading this thread, I've just realised that Lego won't allow me to use AddressPal - which is a service the Irish Post Office have set up for people to have items sent to a UK address that wouldn't normally ship outside UK.
    How are LEGO blocking you from doing this? I've previously used the Parcel Wizard service from DPD (https://www.dpdparcelwizard.ie/) to do exactly the same, and had no problems.
  • Muftak1Muftak1 Somewhere cold, probably rainingMember Posts: 187
    I spoke to CS rep and they said the order would probably be cancelled after a few minutes.

    In their shipping terms is states : "We are unable to take orders for delivery to PO Boxes including Packstations, hotels and freight forwarding services."

    Rep said they would only deliver to house or work...
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