CHOICE membership

Local VS Overseas prices


#1

There’s been a bit of hype recently about The Beatles’ 50th Anniversary of their Sgt. Pepper album. As a part of the celebrations, various versions of the album are being released around the world with a new mix that supposedly makes the instruments easier to hear in various bonus CD and DVD/Blu-Ray combinations. The most expensive of these is a boxed set containing 4 CDs, a DVD and a Blu-Ray disc. This is turning out to be a good example of the differences between the price we pay in Australia and the prices that the same products get sold for overseas. JB Hi-Fi and Sanity are both offering pre-orders of these new releases with JB Hi-Fi asking $335 for the 6 disc set and Sanity wanting $369.99 for the same edition.
If you go to the official UK Beatles store online, then you will find the 6 disc set for sale at £100 plus another £29.49 for delivery to Australia. According to Google, today’s exchange rate means that you can grab it from the UK site, including delivery, for $214.41, which is $155.58 cheaper than Sanity and that doesn’t have Sanity’s delivery charges added in. While $214 including postage is a lot to pay for a six disc set, $370 without postage is outright ridiculous. I’m just wondering who’s doing the price gouging in this instance? Is it Sanity and JB HiFi? Is it the UK distributor who’s sending them to Australia? Is it the Australian distributor who’s handling the imports? Is it a combination of them all being greedy? While I might consider the UK price there’s absolutely no way on the planet that I’d pay the Australian price. Whatever happened to low profit equals high turnover? Surely they’re pricing this thing so high that a lot of people simply won’t bother to make the purchase. I do not understand the mentality of some businesses when it comes to profit margins when it means that a lot of people simply won’t purchase whatever it is they’re trying to rip us off with because the retail price is so high that hardly anyone thinks it’s worth the money.


#2

Sounds like another case of the ‘Australia Tax’ @NubglummerySnr. I agree with your sentiments about the effects this must have - discriminatory pricing surely hurts the businesses as well. Clearly there are some funny numbers being factored in to the decision making at some of these companies.

Hopefully a few other read this and find the cheaper alternative before handing over nearly $400 for the set. It would be great if others who notice price discrimination could also post their examples in this thread.


#3

US retail is supposed to be USD149.98 which is AUD199.15.

I wonder if the super deluxe version is a special import…namely only preorders will be filled and won’t be in retail stores…if this is the case there could be many middle men from Apple EMI to the Australian customer.

Apple has a long history of imposing a special Australia tax and then exporting their profits overseas.

Watches are another example…many manufacturers also have agreements in place preventing export outside the US domestic narket…the experience we have had was Seiko preventing sale of their watches outside of Australia from domestic US retailers. In the US the same watches were around 30-50% cheaper.


#4

I once had the following experience with a work station keyboard synthesizer . I , like a number of other Australians , pre ordered this musical instrument as it offered many features which other brands did not offer at the time . , notably a mixture of analogue and digital sound production . /

The instrument value was $3300 . It duly arrived , being a stage instrument I had to purchase amps for it etc . A month after it had arrived I went to the News Agent to pick up my copy of "Keyboard Player " an American Magazine . I flicked through the pages and could not believe it when I saw an add for the same instrument but at $1300 US . I immediately phoned the importer and must admit was none to pleasant to them . After I had calmed down :imp: they agreed to send me their paperwork regarding orders and it showed they were paying around $2100-$2300 per instrument . Considerably more than the Yank price . Incidentally our Dollar was at parity with theirs at that time . /

I decided to phone the manufacturer in Japan . What I was told has oft been repeated to me over the years since this occasion on other items I have queried . I finally made contact with a person in the overseas order department who spoke impeccable English . I explained my concern and he listened intently . What he said to me next nearly “knocked me out of the ball park .” He explained to me , I quote , “You Australians have plenty of money you have never complained before about the price ( ??? ) and we are attempting to expand our market share in the US so you are subsidising cheaper prices for the American purchasers by what you are paying.” /

As a post script . The company released an updated version of the keyboard 18 months later .By then the damage had been done . The pro music group is a very tight knit community world wide . The instruments sat on music shop shelves around the world and gathered dust . No one would touch them . A year later the Japanese manufacturer announced they were discontinuing their professional line of instruments .


#5

Wow, that quote is a shocker @vax2000. Good job tracking down all the details to get to the bottom of it :+1:


#6

Unfortunately @BrendanMays it is not the only time it has been said to me . Last year I phoned a well known jeans manufacturer in the States and queried why we were paying 3 times , sometimes 4 times the price of their product in OZ against the US price . I received basically the same answer . We pay what ever is asked of us in OZ without query . I think the rest of the world sees us as "over ripe peaches " ready to be picked .


#7

‘Pure price discrimination’ comes to mind!


#8

Not exactly prices, but certainly costs and customer relationships.

I needed a few parts from a leading blind company. The Australian mob would not even respond to emails. I ended up contacting the American parent who was only too happy to send out the parts I needed gratis, as long as I had a US address, which I do (Borderlinx as well as family there).

Another leading Australian sink company was curiously helpful in an American way. I sent them an email asking how to order some small bits; a US VP ended up responding. He arranged the parts gratis to my address via the Aussie subsidiary.

Someone needs to try, for the millionth time, to tell Gerry Harvey and the ignorants in Canberra it is not just the GST that makes Australian retail uncompetitive.


#9

I find, when buying online, that postage from the US is generally expensive. Many things priced slightly higher in UK are cheaper when taking postage into account. I bought a trinket (worth a few cents) from China a while ago and the total price was A$2 including postage. You couldn’t buy an overseas stamp for that in most countries.

I am lucky though. I have rellies in UK that can buy stuff for me and send it with cheaper post/courier.

Prices are charged by companies based on what they think people will pay. The world over. It might not seem like it to many people but we are well off in Australia.


#10

Yup its called geo-pricing and it is absolutely rife. We in Australia pay more than anyone else for just about everything even digital goods where there is no freight or other delivery involved. Many times you cannot even get to an overseas website e.g. Nike, you are automatically directed to the AU site because of your IP number. I agree Mr Harvey and Co need to have a long hard look at themselves before crying over the lost GST. I have maintained for a number of years that the GST makes no difference. People are saving far more than 10% buy buying on the 'net and will continue to do so even when ‘big brother’ tries to shut down companies not adding and paying the GST. BTW we even pay more for the same drugs available in NZ at far lower prices. No wonder Medicare is in trouble!


#11

Ever since the Prices Surveillance Authority was finished the price for everything has been whatever the Market could bear. Prior to that you had the price made up of what the product actually cost, transport,taxes, and a reasonable retail profit . Now we get whatever with huge profit margins.In the supposed age of Information we get swamped with facts but the worldwide deregulation in favour of the obscenely rich means very little can be done and they will ignore all outrage unless it becomes a huge public outcry and protest movement which 99% of the time won’t happen. Long Live our Suit Masters.


#12

I heard of a product I thought would be useful recently - a neoprene cover for the strap of my goggles. Online there were black ones for $18, or a purple version for more than $50! When messaged the ebay seller to ask why his item was so expensive, they made no effort to try to understand my question, so I went to a local shop and bought a coloured one for $15. Sometimes it really does pay to shop local.


#13

#14

It pays to always shop around for the best price on anything whether local or on-line. It is interesting that some colours attract higher prices though. I have seen this even with clothing in Target, some coloured shirts being more expensive than others. Go figure!

I do know that coloured neoprene is more expensive than black that’s why wetsuits and booties are mostly black and cheaper than the few colours.


#15

As an avid gamer (PC primarily), I’m regularly scouting out new games that seem interesting and comparing the price of buying Retail here in Aus (EB Games) against buying Retail online from a mob like OzGameShop (UK-located, Aus/NZ customer base), buying Digital online from primary retailers (Steam, EA Origin, uPlay, GoG, Battle.Net/Blizzard App…) & buying online from discount-focused retailers (Bundlestars, Humble Bundle, Kinguin).

Recently I’ve found something rather abhorrent in regards to how much Fallout 4 costs physically from EB against buying it in USD from Steam;
EB Games currently sells Fallout 4 ‘physically’ for $50 AUD (currently on a “2-for-$50” special), Steam sells it to a customer coming in on a US IP address for the usual $59.99 USD ($79.99 AUD current exchanges), but that same copy of Fallout 4 on Steam coming in from an Aussie IP address is $79.95 USD or a whopping $106.60 AUD! That’s over $50 AUD of profit directly in the hands of Valve and Bethesda that realistically was never theirs if the digital game on the Steam platform was price-matched to local retail stores.
That’s right, for the price of ~1~ copy of this game on Steam, I can buy 2 copies on-disc from EB Games and have them shipped to me, or take advantage of the current special and get ~4~ copies of the game shipped for the same price!

This is on top of the fact Steam currently refuses to deal in AUD (even though it was one of the initial currencies listed an announced when Steam started adding in others like CAD & NZD), doesn’t have GST (currently) applied to it (though technically that should be changed come July), and hasn’t paid the $3 Mil AUD fine from the ACCC from refusing to comply with the ACL in terms of refunds and returns for purchases made on the platform.


#16

I’m with you on this one @Technous285, abhorrent and infuriating. We appreciate you sharing the trouble to compare all these prices :+1:


#17

I once asked The North Face if they price matched themselves. Same jacket on the Aus and USA sites, $300 vs $200 (after adjusting for exchange rates). 150% the USA price in Aus. I was told the difference was generally the same as shipping. As a dual citizen (Aus & USA) and having lived in both countries, I think part of it is customer attitudes. In Aus we tend to just pay whatever is asked of us and accept that it is what it is. In the USA, customers tend to ‘vote’ a lot more with their money, can be more vocal when overcharged based on expectations, plus there is more impact from a larger supply / demand side. Where prices are insanely low, I question whether the people actually making the products and generating the raw materials are being paid a fair wage while the companies steadily increase their profits. With consumerism and business quest for bigger profits, I think consumers and producers are getting taken advantage of (to put it nicely). As consumers, I think we need to do what we can to force change on both ends of the process.


#18

That is what I was trying to get across in my post but you put it much better . You nailed it with the following .

“With consumerism and business quest for bigger profits, I think consumers and producers are getting taken advantage of (to put it nicely). As consumers, I think we need to do what we can to force change on both ends of the process.”

I think that just about sums it up . Well put.


#19

In a past life (20 years ago) I was network administrator for a multinational company. We used Sun Microsystems computer hardware. We had about 50 Sun machines - desktops to fail-over redundant servers. We bought them through our head office in Anaheim (California) because they were 40% less expensive (cheaper). Then Sun in Australia decided they really did want our business and gave us a discount that matched our American price!

I also worked for another company selling Agfa products (made in America). Our buy price was American retail - no discount even at the ‘country’ level - go figure… They want their money… At any cost…


#20

I preordered my Beatles 50th anniversary box set from Amazon.uk for A$158.90 including shipping. Amazon charges Aussies considerably less than their list price as they remove VAT (A$32) once we get to the checkout. Overall there is a saving of more than $200 (on Sanity’s price)!