Amazon to restrict Australian customers to local site in July

Amazon to restrict Australian customers to local site in July

Amazon to restrict Australian customers to local site in July

Amazon's ban on Australian shoppers could see other companies follow suit, experts have warned.

"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", a spokesperson told SBS News.

Amazon did not explain its decision to geo-fence Australian users, but fellow online store eBay has not announced a similar measure.

From July 1, Amazon will redirect local shoppers trying to visit the likes of Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk to its much smaller Australian site, thwarting those who enjoy the lower prices and larger range offered overseas. Amazon has made this move primarily due to new GST rules that will force them to apply a 10% GST to goods purchased on global sites and shipped to Australia.

"The government doesn't apologise for ensuring multinationals pay a fair amount of tax here in Australia".

After that date, Aussie customers who attempt to visit the United States version of Amazon or any of Amazon's overseas sites will find themselves redirected to Amazon's Australian site, which offers a much smaller selection of items.

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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. Hundreds of thousands of customers will lose access to their ebooks on July 1st because Amazon does not allow customers to transfer Kindle purchases from one country to another.

An Amazon spokesperson said the change will allow the company to remain compliant with local laws.

According to the The Sydney Morning Herald, Amazon's USA site provides access to roughly 500 million items, as opposed to the Aussie version, which features around 60 million products.

Shares in local e-commerce site Kogan.com gained 0.2 per cent to $9.09, while shares in electronics retailers JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman rose 2.4 per cent to $23.99 and 1.7 per cent to $3.60, respectively.

It is understood that Amazon baulked at the massive administrative burden of tracking Australian GST from all overseas transactions.

Local media reports that these store chains have heavily lobbied the government in recent years to extend the GST to online products sold by vendors situated overseas, to level the playing field.

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