JB Hi-Fi Goes Grey Market

The bricks and mortar retailer has quietly launched an online-only direct sales model, selling DSLR cameras and accessories at first. JB Hi-Fi, best known for its bricks and mortar stores, has launched its own grey market import business, but you'll have to shop online with the company to take advantage of it. Dubbed "direct import", it's currently only offering DSLR cameras, lenses, flashes and grips to consumers. It's even undercutting its own stores in the process; a Nikon D3100 through JB Hi-Fi's online store with a single lens currently lists at $777. The same camera, through direct import on the same site? $596.

Earlier in the year, JB Hi-Fi chairman Patrick Elliott, responding to a question at its annual general meeting, claimed that when it comes to the sale of goods in its stores, it was prepared to go to a “direct import model” if suppliers didn’t reduce the cost price of their goods. Looks like that's exactly what's happened. [JB HiFi via Ozbargain]

Republished from Gizmodo.


    Awesome news. Let's hope that this expands to other areas and can force people to drop prices. Still can't believe place like EB want $120 for a game I can import for $60 posted.

    Still would like to know how they get around the GST legislation.

    If you can buy from an Australian retailer on a .com.au domain without running foul of the tax avoidance legislation - I want to know how.

    Just because you "say" the end consumer is the direct importer doesn't make it true. I could understand if it was coming from a .com registered in china/hk etc.

    But you make the order from a .com.au, can't see how it's legal.

    Blake, they are paying GST when it lands in the country. Nothing wrong with that.

    The domain name has nothing to do with it.

    What makes you think they are avoiding paying tax?

    If it's sent straight from on overseas distributor to the customer then according to Australian Customs you are the importer, as such you are liable for any tax that needs to be paid.

    Note the last paragraph below, generally this will apply to goods valued over $1000 or that have taxation regardless of value, (tabacco, alcohol, etc).

    From http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page5549.asp
    Imported Goods

    You import goods into Australia if:

    you purchase, order or otherwise arrange for goods to be brought (or sent) to Australia from overseas.

    Your imported goods may arrive in Australia by:

    air cargo
    sea cargo
    international mail (post).

    When you buy goods over the internet, you should be aware that the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs and Border Protection) may screen, x-ray and examine your imported goods. This is done regardless of

    whether the goods were brought for someone else
    whether the goods are for your business or personal/private use
    where the goods were bought
    whether you intend to sell or distribute the goods.

    Goods purchased on the internet are required to be cleared from Customs control when those goods arrive in Australia. The value of the imported goods and the method of arrival determine how the goods are cleared for delivery to you and what duty, taxes and charges may apply.

    You should be aware that, in some instances, if you buy goods on the internet from an Australian company, those goods may be supplied directly to you from overseas. Duty and taxes may be payable by you when this occurs.

    If they are shipping direct to the consumer from overseas - they are not paying GST, guaranteed!

      so does that mean if you have an online business and direct import the product to the customer, that when you make your sales and come to the accounting side that the business does not have to pay gst on that sale and only on the income tax?? please clarify. a little confused.

    @ Hilton, anything under $1000 imported by an individual, such as an online purchase is exempt from gst and import duties.

    From the site:

    GST Liability
    Most retailers selling directly imported goods do not apply any GST to your goods at the time of purchase. In the event that the value of the direct import goods purchased exceeds $1,000, the consumer is usually liable to pay any GST. Consumers who attempt to split-ship multiple items to keep shipments under $1,000 may still be liable for GST on the aggregate shipment value. JB Hi-Fi does not include GST in the pricing of any directly imported goods and any liability has to met by you, the consumer, if applicable.

    How is the warranty handled on these goods?

    I'm tempted but would like clear details.


    They may be "undercutting" their B&M stores, but I've no doubt that the price difference has everything to do with distributors taking their cut. JB's margin is probably untouched.

    This isn't really to claim back GST, this is to save the huge amounts of money from suppliers who are taking a huge cut of imported products. This is basically why MSY and other similar shops have been doing so well.

      Great. Beginning of the end for hundreds of shop outlets and the 15,000 people employed in selling camera gear, the importers who provide the funding for all local photo media, and all subsidy support for the photographer professional development, local web and warranty support etc.. And the Australian lifestyle values that we now must forgo, as we seek 3rd world price points, we'll revert to 3rd world wages. Be wary of what you wish for. You are on your way to uncharted societal outcomes.

      Hey henry99. I work in an unassociated industry wholesaling to retailers and while I appreciate a bargain as much as the next guy, I have to tell you, we are hurting. while we struggle to get 30-40% margin on our cost of which we need 26% just to pay our bills, the retailers are getting 110-120% mark up let alone all the discounts they demand and the money we have to spend on displays for their stores and in some places even provide and pay staff to work in their store. A lot of our customers are choosing to go it alone and develop and import themselves. Good prices for the end consumer, but not helping those up the chain. I don't know the answer.

    What if I import some shirts and the value of these shirts are under a 1000$ but then i on sell them do I have to charge GST on that item

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