Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Government The Internet Your Rights Online

eBay Urges Rethink On EU Plan's "Brick and Mortar" Vendor Requirement 139

Posted by timothy
from the them-as-has-gits dept.
mernil writes with this snippet from Reuters: "According to a draft regulation drawn up by the European Commission and seen by Reuters, suppliers may be allowed to require that distributors have a 'brick-and-mortar' shop before they can sell online. The proposed rules would replace existing guidelines exempting companies from strict EU competition rules under certain circumstances. Those rules expire at the end of May."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

eBay Urges Rethink On EU Plan's "Brick and Mortar" Vendor Requirement

Comments Filter:
  • No words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:30PM (#31202638) Journal

    Living in a EU country and while lately I've been happy with EU's decisions, this is just bullshit. Not just because of eBay, but because there are several online stores in my country too that only have a website and warehouse. This includes the online stores that sell at lower price than you can find in stores and specialized stores like funny items and hot spices, hot sauces and specialized stores that import oversears and sell here.

    Some of the items you can't just on normal stores. This is bullshit.

  • Re:WTF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by twrake (168507) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:40PM (#31202782)

    Just wait a dumber one is on the way!

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:43PM (#31202832) Journal

    People have been ducking sales tax in the US by buying online because you generally have to have a physical presence in a state to be required to remit sales tax. I say people, and not businesses/web vendors, since most states have a "use tax" which applies to anything purchased out of state and used within the state, and very few people ever pay the use tax since there is no reporting.

  • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Danse (1026) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:45PM (#31202844)

    From the article

    Brand owners - often in the high-end or luxury segment - say the provision is necessary to stop so-called free riders, competitors who benefit from promotions carried out by brand name companies, shifting stock online on the back of advertising of a brand's products and services.

    Because "free riders" do not have to pay for the costs of a shop and related overheads, they can frequently offer brand-name products over the Internet at discounted prices.

    "The purpose of a brick-and-mortar shop provision is to help retailers invest in luxury shops," said Antoine Winkler, a partner at law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton who represents several brand name companies.

    I'm slightly confused. Are they doing this to help the brick-and-mortar stores? Are they doing this to help the brands? I'm confused. It sounds like they are trying to take down low-overhead companies because they are too efficient. Does anyone know why this would be a good idea?

    I don't know either. Is the next move to mandate that companies selling "luxury" brands must locate their store in a high-rent part of town too? I mean it just can't be fair if they set up a shop in the bad part of town and pay a fraction of the rent that the luxury stores pay, right? I'm not sure where this madness would end...

  • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:49PM (#31202906)

    People have been ducking sales tax in the US by buying online because you generally have to have a physical presence in a state to be required to remit sales tax. I say people, and not businesses/web vendors, since most states have a "use tax" which applies to anything purchased out of state and used within the state, and very few people ever pay the use tax since there is no reporting.

    Bullshit. Flat out bullshit. If I buy something at a brick and mortar store, yes, sales tax should apply because infrastructure is used (local roads, fire, police, etc) for the store. But if I buy something online, sales tax *shouldn't* apply if that infrastructure isn't used (interstate roads are paid by tolls or fuel taxes, not sales taxes). If sales tax means stores can't compete, so be it.

  • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:53PM (#31202934) Journal

    What's to stop Mom and Pop from starting a website instead? There's a difference between being unable to compete, and being unwilling to compete.

  • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by compro01 (777531) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:56PM (#31202972)

    If you owned a mom-and-pop store, I think that you would see it as a good idea.

    And if you owned a mom-and-pop online store, I think you would see it as a horrible idea.

  • EU arrogance ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlueTrin (683373) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:15PM (#31203288) Homepage Journal
    I am living in the EU, and I think the EU should maybe start by having a real government before to be so quick on judging on other matters, it feels much like the EU is a group of country trying to chase their lost empire in the 19th century or so ...

    The EU government seems to think that they are the most important in the world while neither China or the US care about them as Obama showed recently.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:17PM (#31203314)

    When a smaller number of people can supply an equal amount of goods and services, that frees up the superfluous people to do other jobs, for example supply back massages or clean windows. In net, society is better off, even if someone painfully loses their job in the short term.

    This is different from another model of employment, which we may call the "Soviet" model, where something done by few people is a social ill because it deprives the remaining people of jobs.

    Seriously, sometimes it seems like our European politicians are just rediscovering everything invented during the Cold War.

  • Re:Easy to fulfil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oakgrove (845019) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:30PM (#31203536)
    You just ran a significant percentage of the people this law is already aimed at straight out of business. Many people that sell online do it in their spare time often because they just enjoy it. Not a whole lot of money is made. Certainly not enough to pay rent even in the dinkiest hole in the wall and actually pay somebody to stand around in it all day.
  • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by should_be_linear (779431) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:36PM (#31203666)
    As a EU citizen, I expect Commission will soon figure they did something _really_ stupid _again_. Therefore, next provision will enable *SOME* shops (enumerated in 1200 pages book) to remain online-only. For enumerating all privileged online shops and nagotieting per-member country number, European Online Retail Agency will be established (EORA) in, say, Rome, with huge building and army of translators and other staff.
  • Re:No words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by houghi (78078) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:56PM (#31203982)

    They have a warehouse, so they can easily make a brick and mortar one out of it. Nobody says it has to be cheaper or easy accesible or even customer friendly. Just make a store the size of a phone booth and explain clearly that it will be more expensive if they buy stuff there and the service will be lousy.

  • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:49PM (#31204728)

    The EU is not requiring that there is a brick-and-mortar store. The luxury brands themselves are doing. It's just that the EU used to prohibit them from discriminating against online retailers. Now they are letting luxury brands make that choice if they feel like it's worth it for their brand image. I don't see why there's such an uproar on slashdot.

  • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:58PM (#31204882)

    Your post really doesn't make much sense.

    Random website on the internet competing with megacorps on the internet

    versus

    Random shop down the street competing with megacorps 5 miles away.

    Existing physical presence is invaluable when you're small. It's usually not worth it to buy a physical shop if you don't already have one, but if you already exist, keeping your physical shop open is vital.

    Starting a website instead is a terrible idea.
    You could surf the internet for years without coming across their site.
    Existing customers can't drive around town without seeing their physical shop.

    A physical shop doesn't make any sense if you have a niche market. I was just looking at a website yesterday that appears to be run by one guy, and he sells parts and supplies to refurbish vintage arcade machines, or to build custom arcade machines. What kind of moron thinks this guy would stay in business one month if he had to buy commercial storefront space and signage? No one "driving by" is going to care about vintage arcade machines, no matter how great his location is, but on the internet, I'm sure he's able to find thousands of customers across the world who buy his parts.

    As for "surfing for years without coming across their site", that's why Google was invented. I find small businesses on the web all the time with simple Google searches, or by clicking on Google ads.

    The key, however, is what you're selling. If you're stupid enough to try to compete directly with Wal-Mart on name-brand stuff made in China, you're going to lose. You can't cut your margins thin enough to survive as a small operation on products like that, with so much competition out there from established retailers. The only way small mom-n-pop online businesses survive is by finding niche markets, such as spare parts for vacuum cleaners or somesuch, or custom-made products that can't be found anywhere else.

  • Re:No words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by qnetter (312322) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:36PM (#31207118)

    Did you READ the story? The proposed law does not allow GOVERNMENTS to restrict sales to online retailers that have brick-and-mortar shops. It allows SUPPLIERS to allow their goods to be sold only by online retailers who have brick-and-mortar stores.

    Since suppliers should be free to control who sells their products in any way they choose that does not violate protected-class laws, they should be free to do so. Hell, they should be free to allow their products only to be sold by companies whose names start with an S, or stores on the odd-numbered side of the street.

  • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2010 @04:06AM (#31208770)

    Any vendor can discriminate against online retailers. It's just that luxury brands are the only ones who want to. They think that by keeping their goods available only in expensive high-street shops they can maintain their aura of exclusivity and avoid price pressure. For any other kind of goods, the manufacturers are only happy if they can get more retailers to sell their stuff to consumers, regardless of whether the retailer is online or not.

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.

Working...