From the 1st of July Australians will no longer be able to access the US, UK or in fact any international Amazon site.
This has come as a huge blow to Australians who for years have needed to use the overseas sites to have goods shipped to Australia because the world’s largest retailer was not previously available in the country.
Amazon did finally open in Australia in December of 2017 but savvy Aussie shoppers have been less than impressed. Not only does the site have a whole lot fewer products than many of the international sites but they’re also more expensive.
Amazon Australia not fit for purpose?
Australia is an expensive country, this goes without saying. With wages higher than most other countries though this is often offset for those who live and work there.
Not so with Amazon with reports that certain household products like vacuum cleaners can cost up to double the price on the Amazon Australia site as they do on the US Amazon site, even when including all taxes and shipping costs.
So while Amazon has definitely been welcomed in Australia, it is far from perfect.
Shoppers are still turning to the international sites to purchase good cheaper. With Australia having some of the most relaxed import laws in areas such as grey market imports, it actually encourages Aussies to shop abroad.
Amazon international sites to be blocked
All this is about to stop though and on 1st July, Australian customers will be redirected back to the Australian site when they try to access US Amazon, UK Amazon or any other international Amazon site.
The move has come due to a spat between the Australian Government and international businesses who sell to Australians. New regulations will require international companies to collect a 10% sales tax on behalf of the Australian Treasury.
Little thought has been given to Australian retailers and small businesses who sell their products and wares on international Amazon sites such as US Amazon. Just like customers hoping to bag an overseas bargain, these entrepreneurs are also likely to be frozen out of the international marketplace.
How can I keep accessing US Amazon and others?
If you’re incensed about the latest move there is a way to keep accessing the site AND have goods shipped you to. However, it’s going to be extra work on your behalf.
You’ll need to get yourself a VPN service which allows you to disguise your online location. When you use a VPN app on your computer, tablet or phone you can choose where you appear to be.
For example, you use the VPN service to make it look like you’re in the United States. When you visit the US Amazon site it thinks you’re in the US and so won’t redirect you back to the Australian site.
I recommend VPN services like IPVanish, ExpressVPN and NordVPN because they’re all tried and tested and get good ratings across the net. They also work on any type of device you’re likely to be accessing Amazon on.
It’s worth remembering there are no laws against VPN use in Australia. Especially none regarding circumventing geo-restrictions.
You would likely be breaking the terms and conditions of the Amazon website which at worst could lead to the closure of your account.
But ordering the items is just one step in the process. Amazon will no longer ship products to Australia so you will need to use either family members or one of the many international package forwarding services.
Aussies won’t be stopped
Regardless of restrictions put in place, it’s clear that Aussies won’t be stopped when it comes to buying and utilising services from overseas.
Australians have some of the highest prices in the world and when a product or service can be sourced cheaper abroad they’ll find a way to do it. If this isn’t from the US or UK Amazon sites directly then it’ll be via other means or other sites like AliExpress.
The situation becomes an all-round loser for Amazon, the Australian Treasury and most importantly the Australian consumer.