Amazon to block Australians from shopping on its international sites
Australian shoppers will find themselves limited to a much smaller Amazon item selection beginning on July 1st. Instead of being able to visit and make purchases from international versions of Amazonâs web store â" as most of us can do â" theyâll be redirected to the local Australian site. Geoblocking isnât the only strategy Amazon is taking; Amazon.com and the companyâs other sites will no longer ship to Australian addresses as of the same date.
When I say âmuch smaller,â Amazonâs local Australia site still sells tens of millions of products, but itâs definitely a significantly lesser total than youâd find from Amazonâs US site. Reuters estimates that it offers one-tenth of Amazon.comâs selection. All the basics should be readily available, but this will be a real problem for certain item categories.
The move is the result of Amazonâs unwillingness to cooperate with Australiaâs updated GST (goods and services tax), which would require the online retail giant to collect a 10 percent tax on all purchases that are shipped to Australia from overseas; previously the GST only applied to imported items over A$1,000.
âWhile we regret any inconvenience this may cause customers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites,â an Amazon spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The legislation was lobbied for by local, smaller online and brick-and-mortar retailers like Ha rvey Norman. âThey think they have the right to pay no tax in Australia,â the companyâs executive chairman Gerry Harvey told the Herald. âTheyâve done the dirty on the government. Theyâve done the dirty on the public.â
Accusations that Amazon attempts to skirt around or mold tax laws to its liking are nothing new, but this is one instance where consumers are going to feel the brunt of the standoff. The Herald notes that some savvy shoppers are already looking into utilizing package redirection services so that they can continue getting their very particular items from Amazon â" even if shipping will take a little longer.
Amazon reportedly âbaulked at the massive administrative burden of tracking Australian GST from all overseas transactions,â according to Australiaâs ABC News. eBay had also once warned that the revised GST legislation would similarly force it to block Australian shoppers from importing items, but it has since changed its tune. âWe wonât block Aussie buyers, redirect them, or require them to pretend they are located overseas. Australians will continue to be able to buy from any eBay site,â a spokesperson said. âThis requires major changes to eBayâs global systems and we are working to have these ready by July 1st.â
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