Retail

Amazon backflips on blocking Aussies from US purchases after GST law changes

Dominic Powell /

Amazon Australia

Source: Jakub Kaczmarczyk.

Global retail giant Amazon has reversed its decision to block Australian shoppers from purchasing products from its international sites, just in time for the US’ huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

The decision was made in July after the federal government implemented new GST rules to apply the tax to all online purchases from overseas sellers under $1000. In response, Amazon said it had to assess its “workability of the legislation as a global business”.

The ban meant any Australian shopper with a local Amazon.com.au account would be redirected to the .com.au store if they attempted to purchase physical goods from the company’s global stores.

However, the e-commerce behemoth has today backflipped on the decision, with a spokesperson telling SmartCompany from November 22 onwards Australian Amazon shoppers would be able to ship “eligible items” from amazon.com to Australian delivery addresses. The change was made “as a result of customer feedback”.

“Following the announcement of [the GST 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,” the spokesperson said.

“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.”

However, Fairfax reports the “eligible items” will include only products Amazon stocks and sells itself, as the company continues to negotiate with third-party sellers on how best to apply GST to purchases of their items.

With Amazon only launching in December last year, this year’s Black Friday event will be its first in Australia, and some experts believe the company’s timely changing of its GST policy is it attempting to have a “bigger splash” and increase the number of sales made.

“Having this change occur before Black Friday is no coincidence. Amazon Australia hadn’t yet launched for the sale last year, so the company could be looking to make a bigger splash in 2018,” Angus Kidman, editor-in-chief of retail comparison site finder.com.au said in a statement.

“It’s worth noting the backflip is just for Amazon-shipped products third-party sellers who use Amazon aren’t included. Whether Amazon will ever bring those other sellers on board remains an open question.”

NOW READ: Gerry Harvey slams GST avoiders, but concedes new tax may be hard to enforce

NOW READ: Why Jeff Bezos thinks Amazon will fail and “go bankrupt”

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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