Amazon backflip: Australians can order from US site again
The change comes just in time for Black Friday sales.
Online shopping giant Amazon has reversed its unpopular policy of blocking Australians from shopping on its US and international sites.
Australian shoppers can now once again use the main amazon.com site, as well as other country sites such as amazon.co.uk, rather than finding themselves redirected to the Australian site. Customers who have paid for the local version of Amazon Prime should also qualify for free shipping if they spend more than $49. However, you will now have to pay an extra 10% to cover GST.
The switch also doesn't mean absolutely everything is available. Only goods shipped by Amazon itself from its warehouse will be available to Australians. Products from partner retailers who use the Amazon site aren't covered.
The change comes just before this year's Black Friday sales. It was widely speculated in 2017 that Amazon would launch its full Australian operation on Black Friday, but that didn't happen.
"Earlier this year, Amazon assessed changes to the Australian GST law as a global company with multiple international stores and, in order to remain compliant with the legislation, made the difficult decision to suspend exports from our international stores to Australia," Amazon said in a statement. "Following the announcement of these changes, we listened to the customer feedback and assessed how we could respond. Since that time, our teams have continued to focus their efforts on building the complex infrastructure needed to enable exports of low-value goods to Australia and remain compliant with GST laws. We are pleased to be able to offer Australian customers selection from amazon.com complementing the over 80 million products available on amazon.com.au."
Amazon originally switched off access to its overseas stores back in May, saying at the time that it was not possible for it to follow laws which required GST to be collected on all Australian purchases from 1 July this year.
After the change Australians could only purchase through the local amazon.com.au site, which had launched in December 2017 but was widely viewed as offering fewer goods and bargains than its US parent. It included a "global store" with goods from the main amazon.com site, but this only had a subset of the products sold overseas and the pricing was often different.
Research by Finder suggests that Australians spend $5.8 billion a year on shopping with overseas sites. Collecting GST on those purchases represents a $583 million boost in tax revenues for the government.
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