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New Online Shopping Rules for Madeira and the Azores

Discrimination in online sales to the Azores and Madeira, and blocking access to goods or services due to geographic location will be prohibited from the 11th of March 2022.

The law published today in Diário da República, will come into force 60 days after publication, applies to traders who make goods or services available throughout the national territory, prohibiting geographic blocking and unjustified discrimination, as well as other forms of discrimination in sales in (online) based, directly or indirectly, on the consumer’s place of residence or establishment.

Nor can it redirect the consumer, for reasons related to his place of residence or the place of establishment in the national territory, to a different version of the online interface to which the consumer initially tried to access; this however, does not apply if the consumer is willing to be redirected.

The law also determines that the trader cannot apply general conditions of access to goods or services “different depending on the place of residence or place of establishment of the consumer in the national territory,” and that the trader “has the obligation to provide conditions of delivery of its goods or services to the entire national territory.”

This obligation does not, however, prevent the trader from proposing different delivery conditions depending on the consumer’s place of residence or place of establishment, “in particular with regard to the cost of delivery.”

Regarding non-discrimination for reasons related to payment, the law determines that, as of the 11th of March, the merchant “cannot apply different conditions to payment transactions,” within the scope of payment instruments accepted by him, for reasons related to with the place of residence, with the place of establishment of the consumer in the national territory, with the location of the payment account, or with the place of establishment of the payment service provider.

The ban does not prevent the merchant from charging charges for using a payment instrument, which cannot exceed the direct costs borne by the merchant for using the payment instrument.

As for fines, for non-compliance with the new obligations of traders, the law defines as an administrative offence involving the violation of the rules of access to online interfaces, punishable by a fine of 50 euros to 1,500 euros or from 100 euros to 5,000 euros depending on the offender.

Violation of rules for access to goods and services, with different conditions depending on the location, and non-discrimination for reasons related to payment is already a serious infraction, being punished with a fine of 250 euros to 3,000 euros or from 500 euros to 25,000 euros.

Furthermore, “It is incumbent upon the Government of the Republic, namely the ministry with competence in the area of ​​the economy, after hearing the autonomous regions, to publish an annual report that describes and quantifies the inspection under this law.”

The inspection of compliance with the rules published today is the responsibility of the ASAE – Food and Economic Security Authority and the regional authorities responsible for economic inspection.

The law was enacted on the 24th of December by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, after the final text of the proposal of the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of Madeira was approved on the 19th of November, with votes in favor of PS, PSD, BE , CDS-PP, PAN and non-registered deputies Joacine Katar Moreira and Cristina Rodrigues, the abstention of PCP and PEV and the vote against the Liberal Initiative.

Samantha Gannon

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Photo: Pickawood – Unsplash

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