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Amazon Is Introducing Some Significant Restrictions for Australian Shoppers

Here's what they will mean for you.
By Sarah Ward
May 31, 2018
By Sarah Ward
May 31, 2018

It has been just over six months since Amazon finally launched in Australia, promising an array of goods delivered quickly and affordably, as shipped from Melbourne. But you're probably still making purchases from the company's US and UK sites, aren't you? Given that Amazon's Aussie range and prices don't quite match its overseas counterparts, that's understandable. But, come July 1, that'll no longer be an option.

In emails sent out to customers today, Amazon advised that purchases from its international platforms will no longer be shipped to Australian addresses once the new financial year hits. The new policy is the result of an upcoming change to the country's GST laws, with the standard goods and services tax of 10 percent set to be applied to all online overseas purchases. At the moment, GST only applies to transactions over $1000.

"We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to [our] international selection and allow us to remain compliant with the law which requires us to collect and remit GST on products sold on Amazon sites that are shipped from overseas," advised Amazon in its correspondence to customers.

Anyone in Australia trying to purchase from Amazon US, UK or elsewhere will have the option of buying from a new Amazon Global Store, launched today, which will apparently "provide customers with continued access to [Amazon's] international selection".

Still, it won't quite be the same. The Guardian reports that the Amazon Global Store currently has around four million items, which isn't even one percent of the range available in the US. And while Amazon states that more than 60 million products are currently available on its Australian site, if you're a seasoned online shopper, you've probably come across more than a few gaps. Or, you've found the same goods on sale to Aussie customers for a much steeper price, even taking exchange rates and international shipping into account.

Given that the ban applies to all Australian addresses, we're sorry to say that sneaking around the block with a VPN won't work. Using a shipping forwarding service — where orders are initially sent to an overseas address, then forwarded on to Australia (for an extra fee) — will be an option though.

If you're worried that this could change online shopping in Australia, you're not alone. With the change in GST laws and Amazon's precedent, it seems inevitable that other online retailers will follow in the global retailer's footsteps.

Published on May 31, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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