back to article Oz parliament may investigate tech price discrimination

Australians should get ready for a publicity assault by rent-seeking vendors, with reports emerging that the Australian government is likely to launch an inquiry into price gouging, otherwise known as price discrimination. The year-long campaign by MP Ed Husic against vendors gouging Australian IT buyers may finally result in a …

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Devil

You know the game is up ...

It's been a great scam while it lasted, but you know the game is up when even the pollies have caught on.

I recall many years ago our federal Government enthusiastically supported the creation of these dirty little back room cartels by clamping down on "grey marketing". I think that was back in the Frazer years, but while Hawk & Keating tore down most of it, the most recent example of it was the Labor governments continued support of the ban on parallel import of books.

Retail is in for a rough ride as these cosy little back room relationships are torn apart by competition. We will all be better off because of it.

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Mushroom

About Bloody Time!

It's disgusting when I can buy a game from a UK retail site for $50AU including postage half way around the world but the very same game in an Australian store is $109AU... Hell it's even worse for PS3 owners... since many of the discs are actually manufactured in Australia at the Sony Blu-Ray factory in Sydney! Yet it's cheaper to buy from half way around the world!

It's disgusting when I log into Steam from an Australian address and games are listed $89US.. but my friends in the states see them for $49US... yes... we get charged in USD no matter what... but there is an "Australian Surcharge"... I suppose it's because we download the games from ISP provided mirrors... oh wait you'd think that would lower the cost... but oh no.

And that's just games. No it's about time our government did something about it, and not what the likes of Harvey Norman want done either (i.e taxing imports), but forcing local retailers to actually compete with online and imported goods by slamming the big importers who price gouge us.

Even when our currency was 40% weaker then it is today, I could still buy two products for the price of one via international sites...

It's time to fix this mess, the local retailers only have themselves to blame, they were the ones that supported the massive price hikes that harmed Australian consumers, so time to feel the pain boys and girls.

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Silver badge
Mushroom

*May* investigate

I see calling for bribes has becoming more brazen.

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Anonymous Coward

$50 for $105?

That is only a 2x price rort... mate you should look outside of electronics at mechanical goods and tools. You will see 3x price rort or higher is the norm there.

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Unhappy

I look forward to making a submission.

Stock Dell Alienware X51

US $699

AUD$1300

Mostly COTS components, apart from the case, and they are probably made in one place, further lowing the cost per unit.

It is possible that the Aussie market machines are assembled in Asia and the US market machines in the USA. However, that should lower the price as labour costs are lower in Asia.

So how is it that even with the Australian dollar at close to parity with the US, we pay nearly double? Even if all the boxes were built in the USA and shipped direct, it would not justify the difference. I also compared the do-it -yourself option with locally sourced, retail components and it came out at about the US price.

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Flame

Sacred cows... (Entrenched price discrimination)

...make the best hamburgers!

Bring it.

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Anonymous Coward

wake me up

When they get around to motor vehicles.

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What needs to happen.

If the government facilitated Grey markets by helping big retailers like Harvey Norman, Myers, bigW, Kmart etc to co-ordinate their Grey market efforts.. it would cause Grey market competition pricing and force local subsidiaries (IE Sony Australia, Alpine Australia Etc etc) to compete with global pricing. If they can't compete, then they need to negotiate better with their suppliers and cut expense until they can compete.

I notice that companies that gouge here in Au don't mention that their offices in every other country also pay rent and salaries and they somehow manage to price competitively.

The worst case I saw was years ago.. A Ford convertible (Capri I think) was actually built here in Australia, but was sold in the US for 13000, and here for 23k +. Because they knew people here are used to being gouged and would pay anyway.

That is what the retail slump is about.. The Internet has shown all Australians that we get gouged by all the companies we've been loyal too for years. I never buy electrical goods in Australia anymore because they don't respect me enough to give me a global price. The Internet isn't going away anytime soon so this awareness is going to grow not shrink and whining about slumping retail sales isn't going to change it. Retail sales are going fantastically, we're just buying online now to avoid being gouged.

If you want to keep the sales in Australia, it's time to pony up and be competitive.

This is also why people like Sony introduced DVD/blueray regions. So they could gouge us on movies as well.

What the government should have done back then was ban region locked DVD players from the Australian markets to stop that happening.

cheers

Frank

Perth Western Australia.

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Not only in Australia

Though probably not as bad here in EU I can get stuff cheaper from other countries in the EU than my own. And that's usually with exhobirant shipping.

I can get most games 15eur cheaper from the UK than buying localy. I can buy most things 10-30% cheaper from any other country in the EU than getting the same stuff localy.

So yes not only Australia.

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Same story in NZ

Just before the Rubgy World Cup last year, Adidas got themselves into hot water when the media noted that you could by a All Blacks jersey online for about half the price you could buy one in NZ. Adidas responded by trying to get the overseas online stores to not ship to NZ. When that backfired, they removed all the signage from their cars and waited for the heat to die down.

So anything to get distributors/retailers around the world being a bit more realistic with their pricing would be view useful.

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Mushroom

Hope Adobe gets lambasted

In the US Adobe Lightroom is US$79 to upgrade. But if you happen to be Australian then to download from the same server is suddenly AU$122.38, roughly USD$125. What am I paying extra for here? Even if you assume that we need to pay all the US taxes AND the Australian taxes this should be a 10% difference, 45% is just criminal

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