How Amazon plans to block Australians from using popular feature

02 June, 2018, 10:47 | Author: Sally Reid

We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to global 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.

New rules require internet retailers like the American behemoth to collect a 10 percent goods and services tax on everything bought from overseas sites from July 1, including under the current tax-free threshold of Aus$1,000 (U.S.$760).

"We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to global 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", Amazon is reported as saying.

After that date, Aussie customers who attempt to visit the U.S. 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.

Starting in July, Australians will be blocked from ordering items on Amazon's United States site.

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.

Amazon's primary site, Amazon.com, will be inaccessible in Australia, with buyers diverted to the local store, which has been heavily criticised for its higher prices and lesser variety.

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In a statement about the change, Amazon said it regretted "any inconvenience this may cause customers".

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

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.

Australians will be able to access their new global store which has four million products.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the new laws "level the playing field for Australian businesses".

A Productivity Commission inquiry concluded that given the decision to collect GST on low value imported goods, "the legislated model is the most feasible among the imperfect alternatives at this time".

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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