Price mark-ups for buying in Australia compared to o/s (The "Australia tax")

Edit: New readers to the topic can join it as of August 2023 by clicking here.

I’ve recently been looking for a set of wireless earbuds that do not block external noise, are comfortable and do not fall out.

One product I found online with good reviews are those made by Defunc in Sweden. According to their website ( the model I like, the True Go Slim is available, delivered, to Europe and to North American and Asian countries for 444kr or US$49 - about AUD$67. However it is not possible to select Australia as the delivery country.

You can find the product on a local site: which offers to sell the same product for $179.99! Given this is triple the price, I assumed that it was a scam/phishing website.

I contacted defunc in Sweden who replied:

" is the Australian site that our distributors handle as we unfortunately do not send orders to Australia.
Defunc has a recommended price for our products but we cannot control the pricing set in the respective market or other sales channels."

Note the URL is not quite the same, but given that that redirects you to, it does seem like it is the correct website.

Quite rightly, defunc do not set the sale prices for their Australian distributor, but this seems an excessive example of price discrimination.


A bit of googling reveals even worse examples: The same product “on sale” for $224.90
“Don’t Pay $259.90”

Amusingly the kogan seller “bourne electronics” have this item on their own website for $199 (still claiming the RRP is $259) Defunc TRUE GO Blue Wireless Earbuds with Charging Case Slim Multitip Design


When Amazon first set up in Australia, they geoblocked the ability to buy from the US site and directed to the AU site where prices were considerably higher, allowing for currency exchange, than in the US.
I don’t buy much from Amazon, but I believe that that geoblocking has been removed, or relaxed at least.


Not necessarily a perfect solution.
Occasionally we’ve been able to get around the blockage by purchasing while OS. Japan, Singapore etc. Not that too many of us may be travelling at present.

Are there options to purchase on line from a reliable SE Asian retailer at a sensible price? For a sub $100 item, the purchaser may not be too concerned re warranty, whether purchased direct from Sweden or elsewhere outside of Australia. Especially when the Aussie price might purchase 3 at the lower true cost!


True. I can get the product sent to Hong Kong or the US, and have a Freight forwarder on-send it to me for about $30. It is a bit of a hassle though.

I’m a bit surprised by Kogan, since they frequently parallel import products. I would have expected them to have a price of about $100 for the product (purchase price + mark up + allowance for warranty issues).


Thanks for sharing this @Tungsten. If anyone else sees an example, of the ‘Australia tax’ please let us know.


Is this them? Seem to be available in many places with quick google search. Also in Aust on My Deal


Ah no. The link takes one to a Spanish web site. :wink:

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So was that one a scam site? The tech inn one?

How about MyDeal then? I have used them before and all good so far

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Not necessarily a scam site, just an offshore one where if something goes amiss you could easily be on your own - including no functional warranty and if an off shore purchase goes bad potential support from the ACCC/Fair Trading and rights under the ACL are most unlikely to be enforceable.

The price from Spain regardless whether denominated in $AUD is not a reflection of Australian domestic prices, which was the subject of this topic.

The Mydeal price was $109 all up. Pink, 1 left just now. A comparative price against the quoted $179 in the OP, at least if you want a pink one.

The Spanish site asked $AUD56.49, apparently not including GST or shipping from what I can discern. Just something to be aware of and check when price shopping on off shore ecommerce sites. Most cards would also slug 3% for currency conversion or offshore processing.

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I’ve seen countless examples of this over my lifetime, and share your frustration. I’m the case of products originating from the IS, I’ve often used shipping redirection services to get around enormous price variances.

The following information is not necessarily relevant to your specific situation, and it’s anecdotal in nature, but may offer some insight when it comes to particular goods.

A client of mine is an importer of hi fi systems and audio gear, and when I asked him about the significant price difference between the same product OS and its RRP here, he mentioned regulatory hurdles as the main reason, as well as power plug conversions and the obvious import duties and shipping costs.

He said if his company is the first or only business to import a particular model of subwoofer (for example), he needs to pay to have that model tested and certified for safe use in Australia. According to him, the costs involved in safety certification can amount to hundreds of dollars per model of device/appliance - costs that then need to be recouped in order to turn a profit.

Perhaps someone from Choice would be in a better position to state whether this information is correct, but it does at least seem plausible…

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There’s nothing new about this situation. I get a similar reaction on just about any electronic product I search for. I usually buy from the large Australian retailers if the difference is not excessive. Warranty issues, which are quite common with electronic stuff, are easier to resolve and delivery times are shorter.
The exorbitant prices is another issue and smacks of price gouging. They are clearly an indicator of marketing-speak price setting - "what the market will bear ".

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Does the country of manufacture make a difference?
For product made in Taiwan or China or elsewhere in SE Asia, the EU and UK also have regulatory hurdles, import costs and shipping. Voltage differences and plug differences also apply to all.

For a low volume specialist product which some HiFi equipment can be, the circumstances are likely different.

The following provides a nuanced and commercially aligned summary of what importers face.

I see it every time I pass a service station. Twice I’ve heard on the tv news that the price of crude on the international market is falling and each time there is a rise in local petrol prices.

There is a topic about Colesworths fuelling their profits while fuelling inflation, but this is the Australia Tax as usual. Only almost quadruple the overseas price. Whether it is the importer or grocers or both benefiting is arguable.

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Amazon US has a particular Levi men’s denim shorts for $USD 38 + local taxes (usually about 9%) w/delivery included. The same item on Amazon AU is only $AUD 156 (plus international postage!), GST inclusive. The item was not found on other Australian sites. Perhaps some competition would improve this disparity, but.