Amazon just blocked Australians from shopping on most of Amazon

01 June, 2018, 16:06 | Author: Sheri Evans
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"We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to global selection and allow us to remain compliant with the law which requires us to collect and remit GST on products sold on Amazon sites that are shipped from overseas", said Amazon.

At issue is the Australian government's long-held (and long-criticised) desire to levy GST on all purchases made from overseas vendors, replacing a policy of taxing only imports priced at more than AU$1,000. Goods sold on Amazon.com, the United States site, will cease shipping to Australia on July 1.

"While we regret any inconvenience this may cause customers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple worldwide sites", an Amazon spokeswoman told SMH.

Shoppers visiting the USA store Amazon.com will be redirected to the Australian version, Amazon.com.au, from July 1 when Australia starts applying new tax rules, Amazon said in a statement on Friday.

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Online retail giant Amazon will block Australian consumers from its global sites to counter new laws forcing it to collect GST on transactions.

Media reports said the other major online retailer, eBay, would not follow Amazon and apply the new tax in the interests of consumers purchasing goods from its website.

For now, the GST change looks like a win for local businesses, which will have an easier time retaining shoppers while Amazon builds out its Australian inventory.

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"We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to global selection and allow us to remain compliant with the law, which requires us to collect and remit GST on products sold on Amazon sites that are shipped from overseas", the company said.

But even with the changes, the number of products available will be a fraction of what's on sale globally.

The move will likely drive traffic to Amazon's Australian website, testing the patience of shoppers who have complained about its thin product range - a tenth the range of its US site - and uncompetitive prices since it began taking orders in December.

A spokesperson for Treasurer Scott Morrison said the new GST regulations "level the playing field" for Australian businesses.

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"This isn't an anti-trade move by the Australian government", he said.

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