Kogan Imposing Tax On Shoppers Who Use IE7

Kogan Imposing Tax On Shoppers Who Use IE7

Online electronics retailer Kogan is no stranger to novel pricing approaches, but this one takes the cake: from now on, anyone who visits the Kogan site using IE7 will be charged an additional 6.8% “IE7 tax” — 0.1% for each month since the browser was released — on any purchases.

Visitors to the site who use IE7 will see a pop-up message suggesting that they install a “better browser”, with links to Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera (though not to IE9). In a blog post announcing the change, founder Ruslan Kogan says that the cost of making the site render properly on IE7 isn’t worth the hassle.

Microsoft itself has worked hard to persuade users to upgrade as part of general system patches, and as we’ve noted recently, the current Internet Explorer 9 release performs much better than you might think. We’re not sure how many actual customers this will impact, but driving bargain shoppers towards using a more modern browser is no bad thing. I can’t imagine anyone choosing to pay extra and sticking with IE7, but if it does happen, I’m sure we’ll hear about it.



    • No, don’t give them an out! The whole point is for them to pressure their systems administrators at work. It’s the sysadmins who will make wholesale changes to corporate browser policy.

      • Have to agree with you mate. So many tech-unsavvy people out there. If a system admin gets wind of their users wanting a change away from the worst browser the world has ever known, I think they might just oblige. Or they’re just the worst tech money can waste.

      • You’re likely right, but I’ve gotten portable apps working in some pretty heavily restricted government and commerical SOEs (including at least one that flat-out banned executables network-wide). Now I do it just to show it can be done, since I BYOD. Unless you’re using signal scramblers and/or banning smartphones and tablets from the workplace entirely, I can goof off on Facebook and shopping sites at will, SOE be damned.

  • I’ll let you in on an online retailing secret… users with older browsers purchase >10 times less than their more modern counterparts.
    A while back, a large online retailer I worked with had IE6 as 6% of traffic, but less than 0.2% of sales.
    It literally cost more in developer time to fix IE bugs than those customers were worth.
    If you’re on a dated system… statistically, you’re not a big spender.

  • thats pathetic

    why bother supporting ie7 at all and charging users? why not stop wasting your money in maintaining support and notify users that they cant access without upgrading their browser – simple, less expensive

    is this some kinda “marketing” promotion from kogan for a little bit of nerdy shock and awe?

    • The notice said it was about making the internet a better place. I assume its actually meant to act as an incentive to make their users switch away from IE7, and that they don’t expect users to pay the tax instead of changing browsers.

    • It’s not wasting money, if people pay it. That’s what businesses do: they give people what they want, in exchange for money. If there’s people who want to pay more and use IE7, then Kogan can use that extra money and maintain IE7 support. It’s also free advertising, but for anyone who takes him up on the offer, it’s a real thing.

  • Is this legal? I am curious if companies are allowed to create and charge “taxes” at will to satisfy their own policies?

    If it was a “fee”.. that would be one thing but he is clearly making it a “tax”..

    I’d hate to see Mr Kogan get targetted by ASIC over this.

    • It’s perfectly legal. They are being upfront about the policy and the reasons behind it. Even if they didn’t, iIt’s called a free market. In this case the customer is perfectly free to adapt to the rules or go somewhere else. And Kogan can discriminate however it likes so long as it’s not by sex, race, etc as defined under the law. A lot of business change consultants call this “firing customers”.

      • Oh but you have to be very careful with words, Max. The government plays this game all day every day.. for example, charging a tax on top of another tax.. such as say GST, is actually very much illegal.. so to get around this with relation to fuel, they call it a Fuel Excise so that they are clearly not charging a tax on top of another tax.

        I wonder if Kogan is charging GST *and* this new IE7 Tax..

        • This is a fee. However, the word ‘tax’ sounds nastier, which is why they used in this ad. Also see the stamp “Department of Internet Justice”. Newsflash for you – this is not a real government department.

          Where Kogan can get away with it, they are NOT charging GST, because customers go to Kogan to get lower prices. And where they do have to charge it, GST is not money that they can make as profit because it is a tax. 10% of everything you buy goes to the government, not to Kogan or whatever retailer. Only the government imposes taxes, and all taxes go to the government.

          If it makes your poor overwhelmed mind feel better, think of it as the IE7 Fee.

        • And wtf do you mean, GST is illegal?

          And they already charge ‘tax upon tax’, there’s tax on super, tax on income, tax on voluntary contributions to super.

          None of this is illegal.

          • Go read your Australian Constitution some time.. this is the reason so many of us are being ripped off left, rigth and centre in this country. We are all too complacent and believe that our governments are doing the right thing.. but the facts don’t lie… only politicians lie.

        • same as the mining “tax” where the “ordinary blokes” in tv ads say it will hurt their income?

          whats so “ordinary” about salary that comes about 120+ K ?

        • Wrong on both counts. A tax on a tax is not illegal. The Government cannot differentiate between a tax and an excise merely with a name. If it is calculated as a percentage of value (like the GST is 10% of the retail price) then it is a tax. If it is calculated based on the quantity of goods sold (like the petrol excise which is $0.38143 per L) then it is an excise.

          • Current legislation states that applying a tax on a product or service that is already taxed is against the law. Under the Australian Constitution that SUPERSEDES **ANY** OTHER LAW, a tax on a tax is illegal..


            Believe what you want.

          • light487, you might be right that tax-ON-tax is illegal, but is tax-BY-tax illegal?
            I mean, lets say I buy a pack of chips worth $5 before any taxes. And lets say there’s a 10% GST, and a 10% potato-tax. Are you saying:
            $5 + 50c + 50c is ok (since both 10%’s are calculated from the original value)
            $5 + 50c = $5.50, then add another 10% of $5.50 so 55c = $6.05 is illegal ?

            So, people crying that tax-on-tax exists are wrong ? Tax-BY-tax exists, and they should go back to Grade 5 maths and learn about compound interest?

          • Which is actually the same thing when you think about it. It might not be illegal, but that’s only because of cercumventing technicalities. There has been no effort there to protect the people. The biggest effort Australian government makes is to profit from its people until they winge. A tax on tax is unethical. It’s a 3rd world idea. Very young country, many countries to learn from. Learning from none of them. Too clever.

  • Just what i need, more people ringing me panicking over a tax they’ll get now. Before you know it they’ll have convinced themselves that this tax will be charged for everything they do on the god damn internet.

    Kogan’s got it wrong here. Just notify users that they need to update their web browser and point them to the updaters. Don’t threaten them with a tax. Also. Put an upgrade link to IE as well you dumb asses. Many people are perfectly happy with IE for their browsing needs (which will not be most of the people here I know) but lots of mums and dads just use the first thing that gets to the Google which is normally IE. I train people not to click on random “Get me i’m better!!!!!111” links to help them avoid malware.

    • Ill-informed users may be happy with IE, but us developers aren’t… we want to make the best looking most functional website for the customers and don’t want the users to see a compromised version of the website… Things like, javascript/jqueary performance, rounded corners css uniformity don’t work in IE..

      I for one would be happy if the believe everything they do on the internet will incur this tax as then they will actually get good browser.

  • I was curious why they chose to pick on IE7 and not IE6 (which is infinitely more horrible), so I decided to try and buy something using IE6. Once you hit the checkout page the browser crashes completely, so I guess IE7 is the oldest IE version Kogan supports.

    • IE7 has significant problems with complying with CSS web standards. As both IE6 and 7 have reached EOF there’s no reason to support either, unless you’re in a corporate environment and have no choice due to legacy systems.

      • Indeed, if you develop for web, you need to hack to support IE (in any rubbish version). Hacking takes time. Time takes money away from your boss. Money away from your boss means money away from you.

  • Ironic that they would have had to “burn cash” getting their “web guys” to implement browser/object detection scripts just to put this in place.

    • As a web developer, I have given discounts based on this fact alone.

      The line of code to detect a browser is literally 1 line of code in the html. It’s even on this website, right at the top (in the code). The discount means I don’t have to spend hours (there have been times when big websites have taken days to adapt to ie6/7/8) tweaking code to work for utterly outdated shit.

      And before you say “develop in ie7 first then adapt to the others”, think about how backwards that is. I’ve never met a developer who would even fathom this, but I’m sure there are some.

      • On a similar note, tweaking websites to work for ie6/7 is horrible work. Ask a chef to do the dishies work and see what they say. Same shit.

  • That’s awesome.
    Although they (he) should add IE9 to the list of approved browsers, otherwise we have to wonder if Kogan has also been in a coma, or has blinkers on.

    • I don’t remember the exact details, but in order to upgrade to IE9 you need windows 7 (perhaps Vista could work too). As default IE8 comes with windows 7. So if I’m not wrong, then it’s a good chance that if you have IE7, your system can’t support IE9. Not sure about other operative systems though, but they have other browsers as default.

  • My goodness, I wish I could do this. I hate how I have to jump through hoops to make our pages look reasonable on IE. Unfortunately, many of our clients are scientists working for large government and corporate departments that are forced to use IE6. Oh the humanity…

  • It’s Ruslan doing what he does best, getting some free marketing by using his business as a platform for his geeky views and sensibilities.

    Personally, I say good on him!

    My guess is that this came about after a particular rendering glitch caused all sorts of problems after they had already made the decision to support IE7, and that they’ve already decided going forward that they won’t support IE7 at all. In the meantime this is just an amusing stunt.

    • ^ Classic mate.

      I find it funny, I only realised that my sister and brother-in-law were using IE6, I installed Firefox and deleted IE6 from the system, and told them to get used to Firefox.

      At least I know they are a little safer browsing now.

  • I’m not sure if this is legal. Doesn’t this fall under discrimination because some not so tech savvy people are using older software?

    Kogan should stop banking on marketing tactics of this nature but simply improve the quality of their products. I had a 42 inch LED TV which was a bit more than an year old, and stopped working completely. Good luck if any one is so desperate to buy Kogan stuff with added ridiculous taxes.

    • Illegal in the same way that a furniture store charges you more for delivery if you live further away from the store, as in not at all.

      The man is just making the extra money he is forced to pay to deliver these services to these customers back off the customers who are causing the problem instead of marking up the cost for everyone so these people can still browse

    • Technically the government can call them up on it but they probably wont. It’s not so much “illegal” as it is going on step towards getting the govt’s attention, then they do a couple of hundred inquiries, and then 5 years later the come to the conclusion that maybe they should impose some sort of rule or fine to stop companies from ripping off the consumer.

      So, for this, it’s very unlikely they’d do something about it. But yes, it’s a grey area. But the government has a weird approach to grey areas in that they will happily crack down if it’s about morality or politically charged, but if it isn’t they don’t care. Older citizens tend to cop a lot because of that mind you.

  • Great idea Kogan.
    I wouldn’t see a legal issue with this at all. Kogan are simply re-couping costs incurred in maintaining this ‘sales channel’ (yes it does COST to support IE7 as a sales channel)., Similar to how an insurance company charges more to sign up over the phone rather than online.

  • Just did a test order with IE9 and same thing came up and tax was listed on the order,

    Seems like Kogan didnt code this into their site very well…

  • Using any version of IE is a downgrade and will always keep you years behind all other browsers in modern standards and practices. Never, ever use IE no matter how technically illiterate you are.

  • I don’t get the point, apart from the free marketing exposure. Who says you have to continue to code to suit IE (version 7 or otherwise) Code to whatever (current) standard you prefer.

    • Because when a website breaks in an old browser, people don’t generally blame the browser but the website… so your choices are to a) silently accept that people are running outdated software and pay the extra development costs or b) brazenly put it out there that users should consider upgrading away from an obsolete and insecure browser…

  • Oh, come on people. It’s not a real tax. It’s not even a fee. It is a PR exercise. And it is clearly working, because you are all talking about it, very seriously.

  • It should be a “Compatibility Effort Service Surcharge”, well.. except that your Government support the tax regulation.

    Bigger tax for IE6 and old Blackberry Browser

  • Site seems to work under IE6, can add item, get to checkout and reach payment screen.

    As for why IE6, work PC, and all upgrades of IE all fail. (Yes, yes, machine needs Windows re-installed which is another load of hassle)

  • yawn, simple detection of user agent and popup message – good pr for that website that ive never heard of until now. however if it was amazon or another big name, then that would be newsworthy – but really, a lot of sites detect based on user agent and show different content based on it, nothing surprising…

  • This is the last thing we need. It’s good to have alternatives and variants in the internet, in my perspective as a website designer if we keep things too easy it would reduce the cost for creating a website. Website design is a booming industry and you would rather keep it that way especially today that our economy is poor.

  • You see IE6 in your analytics because many crawlers and page speed checkers (gomez) mask as IE6, if you exclude them you will see similar conversion rates.

    This is fantastic.
    Our rule is <1% ignore the browser, so IE7 is no longer supported.

  • It’s all a load of crap really. I went to buy a product from Kogan and the TAX message popped up. I went to another online company without the TAX and bought their product instead. No need to make changes to my fully working system and I got the product I wanted. Kogans loss. Simple!

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!