Restrictions on the sale of electronic booksNOVEMBER 2010: A British citizen resident in France has written to Nick Griffin over trade restrictions on E-books.
The gentleman concerned, who is an OBE and formerly from Mollington near Chester, wrote to his MEP:
"As my native language is English I prefer to read books in English. I purchase books electronically from English retailers. These books are downloaded to be read on an electronic reader.
Recently, two retailers (Waterstones and W H Smith) have announced that because of "...geographical restrictions imposed by publishers we can no longer sell electronic/digital books outside the UK....".
This appears to have come into effect in October 2010. Not all UK retailers I trade with have imposed this restriction.
This restriction impinges on my rights as a citizen of the European Community and is, I believe, in breach of the free passage of goods within the Community.
Could you please tell me if you will act to have this restriction removed?"
Responding on behalf of Nick Griffin, Constituency Office Manager Tina Wingfield, wrote:
"If you believe that the restrictions placed on the sales of electronic books by British retailers, Waterstones and W H Smith, breach your rights as a citizen of the European Community, you can raise the matter with the European Consumer Centre (ECC).
New EU legislation gives you more rights when you purchase services abroad, including the right to buy from a service provider in another EU country without having the seller refuse to sell to you simply because you live in a different EU country. If an online shop refuses to sell you an item simply because you live in a different EU country then your rights may well be being breached.
You can get assistance in confirming your consumer rights, and if appropriate, to defend your rights in such a situation, from the European Consumer Centre. This is an EU funded information and support service for consumers shopping across the European Union.
The ECC advises that in the event of a complaint, the first contact with the trader should be made by the consumer - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If the consumer is dissatisfied with the outcome or response from the trader, the Consumer Centre may be able to help. They can offer detailed advice on points of law and consumer entitlements, as well as guidance on the next step to take in the complaints process.
Letters and emails should be addressed to the UK European Consumer Centre. Email : firstname.lastname@example.org. Postal address: The UK European Consumer Centre. Hosted by the Trading Standards Institute, 1 Sylvan Court, Sylvan Way, Southfields Business Park, Basildon, Essex. SS15 6TH. Telephone: Phone : 08456 04 05 03.
The European Consumer Centre also provides its own cross-border complaint form, which is available in all European languages. [In order to fill in and submit this complaint form, you must have at least the Adobe reader version 8.1.2 or higher - otherwise you will not be able to use the form.] I attach this Complaint Form, for your convenience.
When you consider the £billions of British taxpayers’ money that is wasted on funding our membership of the European Union and facilitating the establishment of the supposed seamless European Single Market, it seems reasonable for consumers such as yourself to expect to be able to purchase an electronic book without hindrance.
Please do not hesitate to contact Mr Griffin again if you require any further assistance."