It's Official: Amazon US Website Blocked In Australia [Updated]

It was the move we all dreaded was coming: Australian shoppers will no longer be able to shop on Amazon's US site as the company shifts focus to its local offering. You have one more month to make your final overseas purchases.

From July 1, shoppers visiting Amazon.com (and other overseas Amazon sites) will be redirected to Amazon.com.au, which launched late last year. This coincides with changes to the Online Goods Tax that require online retailers to apply the 10 per cent GST to all online purchases shipped to Australia from overseas. (Currently, the rule only applies to purchased items that exceed $1000.)

The 'Online Goods' Tax Has Been Postponed Until 2018

We have some good news and bad news for online shoppers. First, the good news. A proposed GST amendment - which will see GST extended to all goods bought overseas - has been delayed for another year.

Now for the bad news. It will almost certainly come into effect on July 1 2018, and the similar 'Netflix tax' kicks in at the end of this month. Better start stocking up on those streaming subscriptions and overseas goodies while the going's good.

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"While 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," Amazon said in a statement.

We speculated this might happen back when Amazon Australia was about to launch. In addition to allowing Amazon's US arm to bypass complicated GST obligations, it also forces more customers to use the Australian service, therefore boosting its sales performance.

This is obviously a bit of a blow for Aussie shoppers - the US version of the site has a vastly larger selection of goods available, many of which were cheaper even after factoring in shipping costs.

There's been no word on whether this will affect Amazon's other online shopping sites such as the Book Depository. We've contacted the company and will report back as soon as we know more.

One thing's for sure, eBay Plus is starting to look more attractive by the minute.

Update: As pointed out on OzBargain, Amazon has begun emailing $20 vouchers to registered users in a bid to make up for the US site blocking. This can be used to redeem against your next purchase on amazon.com.au. If you've shopped with Amazon US before, we recommend checking your inbox - each voucher has a unique code, so you'll need to grab your own.

eBay Plus: Everything You Need To Know

Call it the Amazon effect. eBay Australia is gearing up to offer customers free delivery and returns via a new membership option called eBay Plus. It also comes with a host of special offers and features exclusive to eBay Plus members. Here's everything you need to know.

Read more

This story is developing.

[Via SMH]


Comments

    Dear Amazon,

    Either up your local game or I'll exercise my right to use other means to circumvent these myopic measures.

    Signs,
    An informed Australian.

      Agreed. Amazon US has a massive (massive!) amount of stock in which Amazon AU has maybe 1% of.

      A bunch of this blame must also be put the the Australian government for the GST changes.

        Among other things, I kind of pointed out the government angle.

        I can't really add much more about it as I feel the government angle has been well examined and disproven.

        But even keeping to the Amazon angle only, there is a lot that can be discussed.

        One could blame the Coalition but one can also blame Amazon at the same time.

        The GST changes are a bad idea, that cannot be denied. But Amazon could have really turned this around and put the ball back in the Coalitions court.

        They had set up a presence here. The could have simply made it just a front for their market place and conduct all the transactions here.

        This would have kept to the tax requirement but also kept the pressure up on local retailers who still run with a false narrative that the GST was creating an uneven market place.

        Instead, Amazon has basically caved and rather than pay the extra tax (which would have been a drop in the ocean to them), they rather shed a healthy clientele here in Australia.

          EDIT: Sorry, the first line was suppose to read as follows:

          Among other things, I kind of pointed out the government angle over on Kotaku.

          I disagree that the GST changes are a bad idea. Tax is essential so people need to get over their attitude towards it. All the blame should be placed on Amazon. They could easily deal with this if they wanted to. But it might interfere with their tax minimisation strategies.

            I disagree that the GST changes are a bad idea. Tax is essential so people need to get over their attitude towards it.

            Er, nobody even implied as such. You're trying to push words into my mouth.

            The main reason the removal of GST on imported goods as a bad idea is because the cost to collect, etc., was expected to match or even exceed the revenue that would have been generated.

            Or in the worse case (as can be seen here), businesses would just bail.

            The threshold should have remained or be raised.

            This was just done to placate a vocal minority and (as I pointed out) not only have they gone quiet they are not even celebrating this change.

              eBay and Alibaba have both made the not-inconsiderable effort. Amazon haven't, despite their deep pockets, in a potentially veiled attempt to move more people to the local store. Be angry at Amazon, not at the legitimate taxation of goods.

              I can't find the article now (of course!), but Gerry Harvey is over the moon, gloating "Amazon are dreadful, dreadful people... they're squealing, squealing!"

              Last edited 31/05/18 11:24 pm

            If this didn’t coincide with massive tax cuts for them and their mates then I’d agree with you, but if Libs are in power then only fools pay tax.

        Amen. There are hundreds if not thousands of CDs and movies that are literally impossible to buy in Australia. Even on Amazon.com.au but they're simple to find and buy on Amazon.com.

        I really hope they rethink this idea because frankly it's terrible. I can't say I've found even one deal on the AU Amazon that was actually better than just buying it from a local shop. So if this goes through I guess I won't be buying anything from Amazon.

    Amazon Australia is an absolute joke. Thanks Gerry Harvey and co for all your lobbying to shut down our ability to purchase where we want for items YOU DON'T EVEN SELL..!!
    While we're at it, please please please introduce the European GDPR laws so we can become completely isolated from the rest of the world. Who needs Google, Facebook, Insta etc. anyway. Australia should just turn the lights off and call it done.

    Last edited 31/05/18 12:53 pm

    What about my Amazon credit ?? Is Amazon finally going to allow transfer of credit from .com to .com.au ??

    Thank you Coalition Government.... your big business mates will be donating a bit more this year.

    Why not change Amazon Australia to be allow it to portal purchases on other Amazon stores and charges the GST as a checkout duty. Its wierd they trying to figure out how to apply it internationally to all their stores individually, rather than apply it to say the AUD currency conversion or something. Sad Tech Company can't innovate a solution has to cry about it!

    When the richest online store owned by the richest person in the world, decides they don't care if your country is a valued customer then you know where you stand. Shop elsewhere.

      Great point. I wonder if they just did the math and said we don't make enough money from AU shoppers to justify the cost of doing that. Or maybe they looked at the number of people actually using amazon.com.au and said we need to drive more people to that site.

    Well this is just going to be a massive PITA. My entire family live in the UK so I generally use Amazon UK to buy presents, etc. It costs a ridiculous amount of money to send anything bigger than a postcard to the UK AND if I send anything worth more than a certain amount (not sure what it is but the number 50 springs to mind) they have to pay to get it at their end for some reason.

    Amazon doesn't seem to realise that people use international sites to buy for people in those particular countries, like I do. This is just Amazon throwing the toys out of the pram.

    Screw you Amazon, screw you in the ear....

    P.S. your Australian service is shit

    Just wanted to add, voice your opinion to Amazon. Maybe it won't change their minds, or maybe if enough people complain they'll realise how many of us want to keep using the US site and they'll do something about it. I've submitted feedback through their US site (no response yet). I'd suggest if you don't like the situation you do the same.

    Or maybe even start a "Save Aussie access to Amazon US" petition.

      I got a reply from amazon, copied and pasted below;

      I'm sorry for any disappointment, this changes has caused.

      From July 1, 2018, you will not be able to have products on our international sites delivered to Australia. If you select an Australian delivery location while shopping on our international sites, you will be redirected to shop on amazon.com.au, where there is a new Global Store offering over four million products that were previously only available on Amazon.com. This is in addition to the 60 million products already available on amazon.com.au.

      As a global business with multiple international sites, we have had to assess how best we can comply with the change in the Australian GST law for low value imported goods.

      By redirecting customers selecting an Australian delivery location from our international sites to amazon.com.au, and collecting and remitting GST for sales of low value imported goods on amazon.com.au that are shipped from overseas to customers within Australia, we will remain compliant with the requirements of the law. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause to you.

      However, we appreciate your feedback about this change and have forwarded it to the correct team internally.

      Supposedly there will be more products on the AU site, but if you look at it a little more closely it's just a drop in the bucket. For example; if you browse CDs on the two sites the US has over 4 million hits while the AU site has over 2 million. So there's a discrepancy of over 2 million items JUST in audio CDs. Never mind the hundreds of other categories. So at best we'd be getting a fraction of the available products.

      IF they could push more of the international buying options into the AU store then I have less of a problem with the idea. But at the moment it's still looking grim.

      I find the line about low value items interesting, considering a lot of purchases aren't really what I'd consider low value. But I guess they're simply referring to anything under the GST threshold.

        Ah dammit, quoting is screwed up. The quote should end after the "However we appreciate your feedback" line.

    Amazon still has not put a wishlist on the Australian site, which is bad news for regular Amazon users. I can store most of it on other sites, but that is inconvenient. Plus some of the prices on the Australian site are sheer piracy, and its cheaper going to a store like Gerry's (except NOT Gerry ever again). Amazon will really have to lift its game, or I do what I have done in the past, use a friend. I don't mind paying the GST, but I do not like to be held to ransom by people who think Aussies have nothing better to do than be ripped off.

    Am awaiting for the best. Amazon geo blocking workaround to surface
    Anyone?

      Easy. AusPost ShopMate for a US address (for mail redirection) and a VPN. The problem is that its a but pricey if you don't shop alot.

    Their reasoning is BS. In the US, there are different rates of sales tax in every state and county, and their website calculates this based on the shipping address.

    They could easily have done the same for items shipped to Australia. They just didn't want to.

    Meh.
    A lot amazon.com stuff wouldn't be shipped here anyway. Which is how a whole bunch of "buy overseas" mail redirection / repackaging services got started.

    I doubt those mail redirect services paid GST before, and I doubt they'll do it now. Amazon etc. still make a sale, ATO still misses out on GST, the only change is an increase in revenue for the repackaging services.

      "A lot" might not be, but a massive amount still is. You can filter the site for goods shipped to Australia. It's still orders of magnitude larger than the domestic site.

      The difference is, before those packages came in and customs had a glance at them and let them through. After July customs will look for some sort of GST payment info and if it's not there they'll hold the packages. If you're lucky you'll get a notification and have to pay GST then you'll have the package released. If you're unlucky you won't get the package at all.

      And enjoy arguing with customs over what the item is worth when it comes time to actually calculate GST on it.

      Sorry, forgot to say. The packages will still have to be examined by customs regardless of whether you got it direct from Amazon or some mail redirect company or just some random person in the US.

    I really hope the Turnbull Government has enjoyed their time in power as it will be coming to a swift end at the next election.

    Here is the short version of the Liberal resolution process..
    Piracy - Um... lets punish consumers!
    Online Shopping - Um.. lets punish consumers!

    Have some fucking balls and deal with the real issues instead of bowing to pressure.

    Goodbye!

      I thought that after the screwed the NBN but it didn't happen.

    It'll be interesting to see how this (stupid) decision will affect the Amazon ecosystem in Australia - if Amazon is going to make it hard to use their services why would anyone be loyal to them?

    There are a number of mature alternatives to prime (the content catalogue is tiny anyway), some better sounding speakers and voice interface solutions than echo, I can buy books and Blu-ray from other places (bookdepository.com, jb online), tech is usually cheaper in Australia anyway (staticice.com.au), and while clothing and shoes in the US store are often well priced, there are local alternatives depending on what brands you're looking for.

    Amazon hasnt become the logistics company they are in the US locally, I cant self-publish as an Australian user, there's no local CC offer, Amazon Fresh would be a catastrophe in Australia so I doubt that'd even launch, etc etc

    Are Amazon making themselves irrelevant?

    (Amazon shopper since 1994)

      Actually tech is usually much more expensive in AU. Sure you have to do a currency conversion and pay shipping but for big ticket items it's still cheaper to buy from OS. Here's an example, I've been looking at the Aus ROG Crosshair VII Hero motherboard.

      Amazon $255 it says free shipping, but that's probably only to the US. Even factoring in say $15 for shipping that's $270 converted to AU$ = $357. But there's no GST! Ok add 10% on that $392

      Amazon AU lists one seller at $579. But hey at least it's got free shipping and GST already included...

      If you go to staticice, you'll find the cheapest is PC Case Gear at $449 + $15 shipping so $464. It's around $469 pretty much everywhere (or it's more expensive).

      So the best Aussie deal is still more than $60 more expensive (almost 20%). And remember that's AFTER GST.

      There might be the odd tech item that's cheaper or comparable, but most of them have a 20-30% premium in Australia if not higher.

      As for buying other places, JBs range is nowhere near as comprehensive as Amazon, it'd be lucky if it's 10% of the size. But if you're just buying common, popular stuff it's probably ok.

        Sorry, it's nearly $23 shipping and import to AU in my example, so $400 not $392 and 15% cheaper not 20%...

    With my two buddies Opera browser with built in VPN and Borderlinx.com for my totally legit US address.. I think I will be ok...

      Borderlinx is shut down now...

    Does this include
    Audible.com
    Audible.com.au
    ??

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