Published: Fri, June 01, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Amazon Rankles Australian Customers by Pushing Them to a Local Site

Amazon Rankles Australian Customers by Pushing Them to a Local Site

From that date, Australia will impose a 10 percent consumption tax on online retailers for goods bought from overseas sites and shipped to Australia.

Last year, it was announced that Aussies would have to pay GST on all overseas purchases from July 1, 2018, leaving the country's online shopping future uncertain in the process.

"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 worldwide sites", an Amazon spokeswoman told SMH.

In an email to customers today, the company said from 1 July it would redirect Australian shoppers from its worldwide sites to where products sold by Amazon US will be available on the new global store.

The company said on Thursday it would block Australian shoppers from its overseas websites, including in the U.S. and United Kingdom, from July when the new GST tax regime comes into effect.

Amazon is getting a bit of flack this afternoon over its intentions to re-direct Australian visitors to their global site to their Australian arm thanks to upcoming changes to GST on imported goods.

Media reports said the other major online retailer, eBay, would not follow Amazon and apply the new tax in the interests of consumers purchasing goods from its website.

New Zealand had also already applied GST to digital services from offshore, such as Netflix in 2016.

Amazon closing its global stores to Australians to avoid paying GST is disappointing but Treasurer Scott Morrison is promising there will be no exemptions.

The retailer said it would compensate by opening a "global store" for Australians, adding an extra four million items previously available only on its American website.

But even with the changes, the number of products available will be a fraction of what's on sale globally. "This will allow us to provide our customers with continued access to worldwide selection and remain compliant with the law".

Amazon says its Australian unit offers 60 million products in 23 categories, compared to the more than half a billion products on its U.S. site.

"This isn't an anti-trade move by the Australian government", he said.

"A level playing field will help Australian businesses grow and create more jobs and opportunities", the Treasurer's spokesperson is reported to have said.

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