Consumer Ombudsman to supervise compliance with the Geo-Blocking Regulation as of 1 April 2019
The Government proposes that amendments to the Act on the Provision of Services and the Act on Cross-Border Injunction Proceedings be ratified in the presidential session on 15 March 2019. These amendments involve new supervisory duties for the Consumer Ombudsman regarding geo-blocking.
Geo-blocking refers to practices whereby a customer is prevented from receiving or buying products or services in another EU Member State on the basis of the customer’s nationality or residence. The EU Geo-Blocking Regulation prohibits unjustified geo-blocking that refuse a customer’s access to an online trader’s website, or the use of foreign payment instruments to pay for online purchases. The objective of the Geo-Blocking Regulation is to prevent direct or indirect discrimination against customers based on nationality or place of residence, and thereby to improve the availability of goods and services.
The implementation of the EU Regulation requires that national provisions are laid down on a competent authority. The Act to be ratified will grant the Consumer Ombudsman the authority to supervise compliance with the Regulation. The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority has already received reports from consumers who have encountered discrimination based on nationality or place of residence in cross-border online trading.
The amendments will come into force on 1 April 2019. The application of the Regulation prohibiting unjustified geo-blocking began on 3 December 2018.
Sami Teräväinen, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 060 088