Amazon has backflipped on its decision to block Australian consumers from shopping on its US site after working out a way to add GST to online orders from overseas.
Amazon outraged Australian customers in June, when it said it would stop shipping from amazon.com and other international sites to Australian addresses from July 1, when the new GST regime came into effect.
Amazon established a “global store” option on its Australian site offering more than 4 million products that were previously only accessible from amazon.com and started collecting and remitting the 10 per cent GST on these sales.
However, the global store offered only a fraction of the 480 million products available on amazon.com.
The only way Australian consumers were able to shop on Amazon’s US and British sites was to have orders sent to an address in the US or Britain or use an online freight-forwarding service.
The move stopped millions of Australian consumers who shopped regularly on Amazon’s overseas sites from accessing a vastly wider range of products and cheaper prices than those available on amazon.com.au.
Amazon said on Wednesday that as result of feedback from customers it would start shipping eligible items from amazon.com to Australian delivery addresses from November 22 – just in time for the Black Friday sales, which kick-off in Australia and the US on Friday.
Eligible items include Amazon.com’s first party or retail offer but exclude items sold on its marketplace by third parties.
Orders for eligible or retail items will include the 10 per cent goods and services tax. It is understood Amazon is still working on systems enabling it to charge GST on third party or marketplace orders destined for Australia.
Listening to feedback
“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,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.
“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,” she said.
“We will continue to work constructively with the government on the implementation and enforcement of its legislation to ensure it achieves its objective of a level playing field for all retailers and marketplaces.”