Amazon’s Violation of Geo-blocking Ban on E-books: How to Report and Take Action

2023-06-27 05:46:00

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Amazon violates the geo-blocking ban on e-books.

If you register on Amazon with a Swiss account, you pay more for an eBook than someone from Germany. This is forbidden, because Switzerland has been banned from geo-blocking for a year and a half. Online providers from abroad must not disadvantage Swiss customers, for example by forcing them to shop on their Swiss site, which usually has higher prices.

In a German online shop, customers from Switzerland must therefore be able to order under the same conditions as people from Germany. Amazon disregards this in the case of eBooks. The Consumer Protection Foundation and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Seco have been informed.

“From our point of view, it is clear that the geo-blocking ban also applies to e-books,” says André Bähler from the Consumer Protection Foundation. A possible violation will be checked and, if necessary, Amazon and other providers will be contacted. Every report is followed up, says Bähler.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) is also informed, but only becomes active when it receives several reports against the same company. Consumers can report complaints to Seco about suspected violations of the geo-blocking ban.

Seco can file civil lawsuits in Switzerland against individuals and companies that violate this provision. In individual cases, Seco cannot intervene. So far there have only been a few complaints against Amazon, according to Seco.

Not all of the online shops complained about have changed over

In April, the Consumer Protection Foundation reprimanded twelve online shops for violating the geo-blocking ban. Eleven of them have already changed their online presence, one still has technical problems, but the will to make the change is there, says André Bähler from consumer protection. “This shows that the law in Switzerland can also be enforced abroad.”

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Procedure in the event of a possible geoblocking violation

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Write to online retailers directly and draw their attention to the violation of Art. 3a UWG (geo-blocking ban). With the Meldeformular report possible violations of the geo-blocking ban on the consumer protection website. This is also possible anonymously.Alleged violation by means complaint form report to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco).

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