Aussie Shoppers Blocked From Using Amazon's US Website

Posted June 02, 2018

Online retail giant Amazon will block Australian consumers from its global sites to counter new laws forcing it to collect GST on transactions. While Amazon did not specifically mention this, the ban will most likely apply to other Amazon online stores (such as those for Germany, UK, Japan, etc.), as goods bought from those stores are also susceptible to the same tax.

While Australians will be blocked from Amazon's global websites, they will be able to buy from the retailer's Australian website.

eBay also stated its case against the Bill which applied GST to overseas sales.

Labor's digital economy spokesman Ed Husic said the treasurer should have sat down with Amazon and other retailers earlier to talk through the changes.

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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 worldwide sites", Amazon said in a statement.

The ABC says GST collection requirements for online shopping sites come after years of intense lobbying from local retailers in Australia such as Harvey Norman, Myer, JB Hi-Fi and David Jones, "who have seen their traditional bricks and mortar sales suffer from online competitors".

Before the change, GST only applied to items purchased overseas worth more than $1000.

Australian users weren't happy with their government's decision, and are calling the GST as the "Amazon tax".

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Amazon is launching a global store accessible to Australian customers, where products from its retail site will be available.

The online retail giant will direct Australian shoppers away from its U.S. and United Kingdom stores to its smaller local site from July 1 when the goods and service tax is extended to all imported e-commerce items. 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.

Both eBay and Amazon previously indicated that they may have to block Australian buyers due to the changes - and Amazon today confirmed that it would redirect Australian customers from its global sites to Amazon.com.au.

Ms. Wong, the visually impaired Amazon customer, said the company's main site offered products she just couldn't get from Australian retailers, including many created to help visually impaired people like her.

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"This isn't an anti-trade move by the Australian government", he said. "That tax revenue is used to fund essential services".