Backflip! Harvey Norman Selling Discounted Games From Offshore Site

Backflip! Harvey Norman Selling Discounted Games From Offshore Site

Having spent much of the past few years whining about how online retailers who don’t pay GST are ruining the world, Gerry Harvey now seems to believe money can be made that way. Enter Harvey Norman Direct Import, a games-only site selling discounted titles imported from Europe.

Despite his constant anti-Internet rhetoric, Harvey Norman has expanded into the world of online this year, firstly with the rather odd Big Buys site that sold everything but electronics, then with a broader offering that included in-store pick-up. As we noted when it launched, that latter site wasn’t generally the cheapest option around, a factor that directly influenced the rollout of an offshore site through HN’s Irish subsidiary.

Gerry Harvey summed it up at the media launch: “This is a case of if you can’t beat them join them. We’re not doing this with a great deal of joy by the way.”

The site ships games from the UK, Ireland and Europe, complete with UK ratings. (Games banned in Australia aren’t offered, though.) The reduced prices come down to two factors: different prices in the European market, and not charging GST on the goods, since they are being sent to individuals and fall under the $1,000 threshold that attracts GST.

Right now, the site only covers console games. Harvey Norman is working to develop PC game supply chains, and Gerry Harvey suggested that sites for other categories will be launched in the near future. “The next question is what will you do next? The answer is we’ll let you know soon.”

I can’t help thinking the launch timing is slightly cynical, since it’s now too late to order anything for Christmas shopping (delivery time is between 7 and 14 days). The site also charges a $3.95 per game delivery fee, which could influence the total compared to other sites which offer combined shipping. Harvey himself commented on that relatively high fee: “I’d have thought we’d be able to do it cheaper than that.” But given the evident lower prices on some titles, I suspect it may attract some traffic, especially for single title buyers. What do you think? (The site is set to go live at 6pm on December 22.)

Harvey Norman Direct Import

Backflip! Harvey Norman Selling Discounted Games From Offshore Site

Picture by Chris Hyde/Getty Images


  • Import duty and GST are different things, so how is he really getting around this being HN is an Australian company?

    Also what about the laws surrounding classification? This is the reason JB HiFi stopped selling imported DVDs a few years ago.

    • It’s all done through Harvey Norman Ireland, which is registered in that country.The transaction is made directly between HN Ireland and the customer hence their ability to dodge import taxes.

  • Gerry Harvey makes his money from selling overpriced tat in Australian bricks and mortar locations. This is simply another of his stunts designed to put pressure on the Government to lower the GST threshold and protect his local business by making it more awkward for people to shop overseas.

    The infrastructure and cost to pay GST on low value goods like this would cost a fortune for the government relative to the revenue raised, and the hassle would put off many local shoppers.

    Anyway, If people want to buy games from overseas, I very much doubt they will be doing it through HVN.

  • Gerry Harvey, bullshit artist scum bag extraordinaire. Goto his online site for his HN shops, not only are the prices a rip off and almost never discounted but he is also killing his own franchise stores. Thanks for that Gerry.

    • I got a 4Gb Xbox 360 for $168 from HN Online and picked up in store which is a mad deal. I know better ones recently but I missed out on them.
      But that is a special, as a whole I agree it is crap.

  • It hasn’t opened yet, it’s tomorrow.
    Sorry what is wrong with Gerry fighting with the imports initially? Keeping that money in Australia. Seriously stop being greedy and think of the country. It’s obvious he has only done this because the government is too stupid to change the threshold. Do you think he will sit a round and lose business to others…. He’s seen an opportunity and is now taking it. If its cheap enough it will work.
    And if it works the government won’t allow it to happen long term

  • I love the way most complain about Harvey Norman being a rip (I completely agree) but yet comments include statements that you’ll buy overseas, yet other comments say he should keep the money in Australia… make up your mind guys?

    Do you want cheap products? Yes, well then you can’t buy locally from any legal, reputable business, wages, freight and cost of business in Australia is simply not comparable to what you can achieve overseas and by importing products it’s that simple. If you are all so patriotic to Australia and want to help keep local jobs dig deeper, if not stop complaining and being two faced about this debate.

  • So Jerry Harvey has sold his soul and ethics for the almighty dollar…. “Harvey initially declared online shopping was a dead end, he also claimed he wouldn’t spend another cent on his own retail business’ e-commerce interests”. Three cheers for the $$$ and screw integrity.

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