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Australia Government United States Technology

Prices Drive Australians To Grey Market For Hardware and Software 280

Posted by timothy
from the markets-should-be-bright-green dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian government has been running an inquiry into why technology is so much more expensive to buy down under than in the U.S. In response to the price difference, many consumers are turning to the Internet to buy tech that is imported through unofficial channels at cheaper prices from the U.S. Not to miss out on sales, some retailers are starting to set up special websites that sell this way too. The so-called 'grey market' can save you cash, but could it cost you more in the long run? This article looks at some of the potential problems for people buying technology this way." A companion article examines some of the nitty-gritty of price differences between Australia and the U.S., including the observation that entry-level salaries skew higher in Australia.
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Prices Drive Australians To Grey Market For Hardware and Software

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  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:29AM (#41067163) Homepage

    I buy grey market Lenses from Canon. Because of the price fixing they do for the US market. I can save hundreds, and in some cases THOUSANDS by getting a grey market L series lens over the US market lens.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:39AM (#41067283)

      This is a major factor.

      A few years back, I bought Canon's 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens from the US. Including shipping, customs charges (which included GST), and the like, it was around $AU1400. The local price? A mere $2000 or so (can't remember offhand, but I do know it was a significant saving.)

      A similar story: I bought a box set of the first four series of Doctor Who from the UK (Ecclestone and Tennant's series, basically.) Cost: about $AU60. A single series in Australia costs $AU90 - so I got all four series for less than the price of buying one locally.

      There's no doubt that Australia is being gouged. The only question is, what's a reasonable markup, given that we are a small, geographically spread nation? (Population: about 7.5% that of the USA. Land area: about that of the 48 contiguous states. You do the math.) That there almost has to be a markup is a given ... but I don't think that what we're currently paying is particularly reasonable, all things considered.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:45AM (#41067337) Homepage

        There is no "reasonable" markup argument when they do region and country price fixing. I can buy any canon lens significantly cheaper from friends in Japan and pay for shipping than at any location in the USA. Canon is marking up HARD the lens prices for other countries.

        I've been buying lenses at prices that many dealers would kill for. And the lens was bought at a retail camera stop in Japan and packed in a box and shipped to me here in the USA.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          I can buy any canon lens significantly cheaper from friends in Japan and pay for shipping than at any location in the USA. Canon is marking up HARD the lens prices for other countries.

          Curious, to get an idea on what the savings would be...

          What could you get the 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens for over in Japan...what would shipping add onto that to get it into the states? I recently got a 5D3..and am jonesing really bad for this lens...it is about $2200 here on Amazon.com for the US.

          Also, do you have someone in

          • The other issue is warranties. I don't know Canon's take on this but Nikon will refuse to fix a grey market camera or lens. In fact, if you were Australian, purchased your camera from Nikon Australia and then moved to the US, dropped the camera and sent it to Nikon, they would not touch it.

            So it gets even more annoying and more complex....

        • .. you will run into problems with customs because they consider original equipment e.g. from Nikon Japan a "grey import" and trademark violation and confiscate it and fine you. Trademarks for Asia/Japan are often held by a different company than the same trademark for Europe. This may not necessarily hold up in court (esp. ECJ), but that doesn't stop customs from fucking people over and fining them.
        • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @03:28PM (#41073137)

          There is no "reasonable" markup argument when they do region and country price fixing. I can buy any canon lens significantly cheaper from friends in Japan and pay for shipping than at any location in the USA. Canon is marking up HARD the lens prices for other countries.

          I'm not excusing Canon's pricing, but the higher prices outside Japan are not completely unwarranted. Being a Japanese company, Canon's budget projections and business decisions are based on Yen. Whenever they sell in a market which uses a different currency, they have to take into account the risk of currency fluctuation. That is, their pricing outside of Japan has to be based on their worst-case projection for what will happen to the local currency in the coming year. Otherwise they could end up in a situation where they're selling lenses for less than it cost them to make.

          You OTOH are not looking at an annual operating budget. You're looking at a single snapshot of currency exchange rates on the day you buy. That considerably reduces the window of currency rate movement, and so Canon's markup outside of Japan seems enormous to you. You're only concerned with how much the USD could drop against the JPY in the day it takes your Japanese friend to buy and ship you the lens. Canon is concerned with how much the USD could drop in the year it takes them to sell their inventory, then convert that USD back to JPY.

          I got burned by this a few years back. I took a cross-border job in Canada at near my then-current salary converted to CAD (about USD$0.97 at the time). The first few months were great - the CAD went up to USD$1.07, meaning I'd essentially gotten a 10% pay raise. But then a little over a year later it crashed, dropping to below USD$0.80. None of this affected my Canadian co-workers, since their living expenses were in CAD. But I had to convert my paycheck to USD to pay my bills, so it hit me hard. Any time you're conducting long-term business which involves currency exchange rates, you have to factor in potential movements in exchange rates. (I kept most of my pay in a Canadian bank until the CAD eventually went back up to around USD$1.00. But the money I had to transfer to pay bills at the time was "locked in" at ~USD$0.78. It's a loss I'm never getting back because I didn't consider the possibility of the currency value changing as much as it did during my employment.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I am very interested in this as well. I live in Norway and we always end up paying way more for everything, and I would really like to know why. Some things are obvious like food, because it is locally produced and there are high tariffs. However electronics, movies, toys etc has no import duties and yet often costs more. I think the pattern I have seen is that things which are quite expensive are reasonably priced here while small cheaps things are more expensive. Often by magnitudes. Perhaps they speculat

      • by RDW (41497) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @10:09AM (#41068319)

        A similar story: I bought a box set of the first four series of Doctor Who from the UK (Ecclestone and Tennant's series, basically.)

        Well, that highlights the real dangers of buying grey market. Instead of the first four series (Hartnell and Troughton), they fobbed you off with some modern imitation with Billy Piper in it!

      • Considering minimum wage in Australia is near $18 an hour, and most workers earn a higher average than similar US or European workers, is it a big shock that things are more expensive in Australia? I mean a six pack of beer or a pack of cigarettes is like $16. When you make 2-3 times more than workers in other countries, I would expect prices on items to be about 2-3 higher as well. Also, Australia is an island. Go to Hawaii sometime and compare prices of things to mainland US. Things are more expensive bec
        • If Australia is an island, so is America....

          It's generally considered a continent. It may be remote from the US and Europe, but it is certainly closer to China and Japan where Most Things are made.

      • Why do you say "there almost has to be a markup" when the experience you relate proves that this is not the case? If you can get it 'gray market' for a quarter of what local sellers would charge, this proves there that the markup isn't necessary.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:42AM (#41067303) Journal

      If we want to talk US, the oh-so-terrifying-scourge of drugs-identical-to-their-us-counterparts-but-marked-'only for sale in Canada' is probably worth mentioning. Based on the amount of not-at-all-self-interested hysteria about the safety concerns surrounding these (much, much, cheaper) drugs, you'd think that Canadians were some kind of alien organism with a metabolism based on cryogenic sulfur compounds for which drugs had to be specially formulated...

      • by green1 (322787) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:52AM (#41067449)

        You think that's bad... try being in Canada, our drug prices may be less, but our prices on almost everything else are significantly higher than in the USA. There was actually a news article here a while back about cars that were built at a plant in Canada, being $10,000-$20,000 cheaper in hawaii than they were at the dealership accross the street from the plant. I frequently buy other things online to avoid the ridiculous markup in Canadian stores too.

        • by Vireo (190514)

          Same thing here. Home theater stuff can generally be found at half the price in the US vs Canada. Same thing with kitchen and bathroom hardware. Also bizarrely I found some stuff that is "designed in Canada" and is distributed in the US but not in Canada. Using www.kinek.com and other border mail services, Canadians can benefit from free shipping (e.g. from Amazon.com) up to the border. Buying cars (typically a few $k less after taxes and duty and import regulations are taken care of) and tires (easily half

          • The manufacturers are doing their damnest to make buying US cars for Canadian use as unattractive as possible.

            That includes US dealers outright refusing to sell if they know you're Canadian, to Canadian dealerships not honouring the warranty on a Canadian-registered, US-bought vehicle.

        • Books are a sore spot for me. Forever we have always had on the jacket 11.99USA/26.99CAN and it really pisses me off.

          Sure in the past they could argue about there being a currancy differeance. However how long has the Canadian dollar been at par or better?

          Sure they could argue a lag in distrabution, etc... but they still do this for magizines...

          It really is silly.

          The other thing is electronics? Why? Its not like they produce them... They are all shiped from Thailand, China, Taiwan, etc... Smaller market, di

          • by green1 (322787)

            books get even more ridiculous once the internet is brought in to the picture. A friend of mine recently discovered that books for his ereader were double the price in Canada as in the US, from the same website (but as long as your credit card is canadian you can't get the american price). You want to claim shipping costs on an ebook that you download from the website?????

            I've given up. when I buy anything that I don't need to touch first (like clothing I need to try on), or that can't go bad in transit (li

            • by DarthVain (724186)

              Agreed.

              Case in point, Chapters. Sure there are brick and morter type costs. However for years now you can look at what you pay online, with free delievry VS what you pay in the store, and it is considerably less. I do the same. I figure sooner or later these companies will wake up, but it has been a very long time, with little change. Too much of it I suspect are monolopies and corporate policies that basically say, "this is the price we are going to charge in this market, because we can force them to pay i

              • by green1 (322787)

                You are also forgetting that not only are those ebooks have price differances than the US, but also that they are just as expensive or more so than normal books, and have DRM in them to limit how you can even use them. It baffles me how people can just go along with that. Anyway its a big issue with many sides...

                Oh I'm not forgetting anything, I am well aware of the multiple different ways the companies are choosing to screw us over. We need fewer corporate protection laws, and more consumer protection ones. I should be able to shop around and buy from whoever wants to sell me the best product at the best price, and the corporations should not be allowed to artificially restrict what I can do with it once I've bought it. Unfortunately the current legal system is exactly the reverse.

        • by HungWeiLo (250320)

          In Seattle, most car dealerships have a "Canadian Customers" website where they steer the import customers. I know that at one time, something pedestrian like a Subaru Outback could almost be double the US price when purchased in Canada.

          Although the Louis Vuitton bag my wife got in Vancouver was at least $100 cheaper than in Seattle, even with BC's 12% sales tax and with the Canadian $$ at parity. (Yes, we could have bought it for even less in sales tax-free Oregon - but Vancouver's much more fun than Portl

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        The drug pricing and import restrictions are pretty simple to explain. If you look around a little bit you find that the drug manufacturers cut a deal in non-US markets and they do not offer that deal in the US, under any circumstances.

        So a pill may be $1 CDN in Canada and $10 USD across the border with the only difference being the labelling on the box. Sometimes the pills are made in the same factory. Part of the problem is the attitude that "people in the US can afford it" and part of the problem is t

    • Isn't the major differentiating factor (in the US) that camera gear is grey market because it doesn't come with a US warranty, but a so-called "international warranty"? That is, if your grey market L lens breaks, you can't just bring it back to the shop where you bought it, or even send it to an authorized US warranty repair center. In order to get it fixed under warranty, you'd need to ship it back to the factory - presumably in Japan or Southeast Asia. This would be an example of a manufacturer's US warr
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Read the 'article'. Was not impressed. Sounds like a press release from the 'white market' sellers telling Aussies that the 'grey market' is risky at best and could cost them twice as much.

    This is so with any product purchased any where from anyone no matter which color they choose to paint their store.

    • by Zaelath (2588189)

      This.

      The price differential is SO large in some cases you can buy a complete spare for less than one in Australia.

      The warranty issue on a lot of the higher markup stuff, like media and software is basically zero.

      I'd feel a LOT more exposed buying a $500 washing machine from an Australian online company for $50 less than retail than I would buying it for $200 less from Singapore.

      As to the wage theory; the large American companies that have pushed hard for "globalisation", and removal of tariffs on trade, the

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:39AM (#41067267) Journal

    Worldwide scrounging for the cheapest labor, juciest tax breaks, and laxest regulations for them, region coding and 'grey market' for you.

    Low friction international capital markets for them, border and immigrations controls for you.

    See, 'free trade' is awesome!

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @09:04AM (#41067607)

      Yeah; I'm waiting for the day they abolish prices altogether and just list the cost of everything as a percentage of your income. That's the pricing model everything is moving towards anyway -- not what something is worth, but what they can get away with charging you. And if any of you asshats stand up and make an "invisible hand" argument, you're waking up tomorrow with a horse head next to you. This is not the result of free trade, but the restriction of free trade. Those corporations are shoving region coding down your throats, signing exclusive contracts and manipulating distribution channels to artificially alter the prices, and buying off government officials to make it all legal. That is not capitalism. It is not free trade. It is exploitative, and should be stopped.

      • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @09:17AM (#41067739)

        just list the cost of everything as a percentage of your income.

        Isn't this pretty much how housing has traditionally been priced for a century or so? Your mortgage payment will be 1/4 your income, the only thing that varies is how much money you rent from the bank = what price the house sells for, depends on the current interest rate and level of financial "innovation" at the time of sale?

        And the price of a average mens business suit has always been "about" a average weeks pay? (now at the higher end a fancy suit has been 1 ounce of gold for more than a century, but thats a cultural difference between income and wealth)

        Just saying its not new.

        • Just saying its not new.

          And you're right. I'm concerned about it becoming a mainstream practice, not that it happens in niche markets.

          • by chrb (1083577)

            I'm concerned about it becoming a mainstream practice, not that it happens in niche markets.

            It already is mainstream - the international import and export of clothing is restricted. In the UK, Tesco famously lost the court case [telegraph.co.uk] over grey importing of Levi jeans, which they were selling at half the retail price of the officially imported jeans. And so now the only jeans you will in the UK (and the rest of the EU) are officially imported ones. The same thing happens with clothing, motor vehicles, basically everything where there are official distribution channels.

            Allowing grey importing would ulti

            • by macraig (621737) <`mark.a.craig' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:32AM (#41069379)

              What that counter-argument does is justify institutionalized usury. Usury is inequity in a transaction when there is not an equal exchange of value. That leads to concentration of wealth. Before the Industrial Age, gross concentration of wealth wasn't as commonplace, but the Industrial Age and mass production has made it possible to concentrate wealth in a fashion never seen before that: rather than ripping off just a few people for a lot, it's now possible to rip off a lot of people for just a little and still get just as filthy rich. The people who control the means of mass production can get filthy rich without ever having to worry about villagers wielding pitchforks; the usury is spread so thin that individual villagers just don't notice the tiny knife being inserted and twisted. Multiply that by hundreds of mass producers, though, and the villagers notice but can't figure out where to march with their pitchforks. That's why the Occupy movements are so disjointed right now; they really don't know who to blame because they have so many tiny little knives in their backs rather than one big one. I miss the good old days when you knew who the Really Bad Guy was. Now there's hundreds of Slightly Bad Guys.

              • by macraig (621737)

                This is made far worse, BTW, by consumer ignorance of the true cost of manufacture of the things they buy. Products are becoming so complex and involve technologies that the average consumer can't even name much less understand them. They can't themselves determine a reasonable approximation of true value, and so they rely on the mass producers themselves to TELL THEM what products are worth. Consumers simply don't have enough information to even argue the matter. That's a recipe for an economy that no

              • Please, before ever posting on this again, learn about the following:

                -Royalty
                -The Feudal System
                -The Catholic Church ca 1520 especially The Vatican Bank and Indulgence Selling
                -International Banking (Niall Ferguson has a great book, The Ascent of Money. You desperately need to read this.)

                And the essential problem that Occupy has is that they don't understand that organized whining isn't any more effective than disorganized whining. You have to work to change things - and therein lies the seeds of their fail

      • by mjr167 (2477430)
        That's how things were priced back prior to the 19th century.
      • by poity (465672)

        Why is income-based pricing a boogeyman now? Wouldn't that result in the rich paying more, aka a fairer share of sales tax? And I'm not sure why you bring up overly broad concepts like capitalism and free trade, since they're not essentially relevant to this topic. The relevant concept here would be that of the "market", since income based pricing would be the market economy carried down to the individual level -- it would basically be haggling without the time consuming act of haggling. The more left-leani

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Worldwide scrounging for the cheapest labor, juciest tax breaks, and laxest regulations for them, region coding and 'grey market' for you.

      Low friction international capital markets for them, border and immigrations controls for you.

      The vast majority if this isn't free trade. There are taxes, levies, and other things that have been applied. NAFTA, isn't free trade either. Trade pacts between Canada/US and Asian countries again, aren't free trade. Those are all fair trade.

      In general, the only places where we see free trade, are between states and provinces in Canada and the US, and between several countries in the EU. Or within various provinces inside countries in the EU. And there's a huge difference between free trade, and fai

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:44AM (#41067325)

    Companies like Newegg and Amazon must employ extra staff to invert the contents of all the packages to be sent to the Australian market. It's hard to have robots do this because of the sheer variety of size and contents. Most electronics are made in the northern hemisphere also to be sold there, so are naturally constructed rightside-up for that market. Employing so many people to flip the products over costs money, which is naturally passed on to customers in that market.

    It sucks for our AU friends, but it's the natural cost of being in such a small niche market.

  • Very true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby AT comcast DOT net> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:47AM (#41067365)

    Traveled there for work over the years and checked out the computer stores while I was down there. Everything was more expensive by a fair margin, enough to put me in shock. Not just computers either, food, clothes, household goods etc.

    Talking to the locals they got in the habit of buying from the US and hoping the warranty wasn't needed. Massive problem and I'm surprised they are finally doing something about it.

    I still want a Ute though. Was very disappointed when Pontiac got axed right before they were going to import 500 of them....

    • by Pope (17780)

      Did you check the wages as well? Prices for lots of things are higher in Canada than the US, for example, because for the longest time our dollar was only 85% of the $US, and our wages were higher.

      I mean, it's not like someone somewhere just said "Hey! Let's charge more here than in the US!" and the world colluded on the prices. It's more complicated than just looking at the $US to your currency exchange rate.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:54AM (#41067469) Homepage Journal

    "Grey Market" used to mean refurbished product, especially the warranty-return product which either worked to begin with (brought back to retailer out of "buyers remorse") or was simply repaired or upgraded. As sales became more global, Corporations negotiated different warranty expectations on new products in different countries, so goods sold in a country with lower consumer warranty guarantees were cheaper, and might find themselves transported to where they were covered by stricter warranty (increasing risk to the manufacturer if the product was faulty).

    Today, few of the products sold are actually made by the Corporation whose name is on the warranty. Factories like Taiwanese-owned Han Hoi (Foxconn) churn out product not just for Apple, but for defunct brand names like "Polaroid". The term "grey market" today is applied (by groups like Anti Gray Market Alliance) to patent claim products and plain old "used" sales. The term "grey market" as used in the article is so general that it is really meaningless. Even the product you buy from a "factory direct" website may be the exact same good as the one you buy with another corporation's name on it, entirely. How "grey" is that?

    • by l0ungeb0y (442022)

      The term "grey market" as used in the article is so general that it is really meaningless

      Not so at all. In fact your use of the terms "Grey Market" is the one that is vague and meaningless. These days Grey Market is quite clearly a distinct term that means in the LEGAL GREY LAND between normal Consumer Market and the BLACK MARKET. So it is clear to all that products bought in this manner are not exactly a forthright business deal, but not illegal either.

      On the other behind, your examples are clearly refurbished, pre-owned or privately labelled -- Which have nothing to do with market legality, s

      • by Relayman (1068986) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @09:53AM (#41068115)
        I can be more specific: Grey market goods are new, authentic goods bought through a distribution channel not approved by the manufacturer. Grey market goods do not have to cross borders; I can buy Cisco routers on the grey market in the U.S.

        You can also extend the definition to include used/remanufactured goods that cross borders as well.

        (I notice the British/Australian(?) spelling of "grey" is displacing the American "gray".)
        • by gknoy (899301)

          (I notice the British/Australian(?) spelling of "grey" is displacing the American "gray".)

          I've always preferred spelling it "grey"; I suspect that it's related to my heavy reading of Tolkein in my youth. Given the proportion of nerds here on Slashdot, I'd not be surprised if others were doing the same.

    • by chrb (1083577)
      In the video game world, the term "grey market" has been used to represent non-authorized international sales channels for at least two decades. And I'm pretty sure the term was used before that for VHS video tape imports.
    • by HungWeiLo (250320)

      I have a brochure from the 1980s talking about the "dangers" of buying grey-market Yamaha pianos. So the term was appropriated for this use quite some time ago.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @08:56AM (#41067501)

    I have rellies from Oz who when they visit the US stock up on hand and construction tools. Last time they were here they loaded up a suitcase with (among other things) a nail gun and as many of the brads as they could carry. They were really helped out by the fact that their 5 year old son was entitled to the full luggage allowance when flying. You don't do things like that unless it is worth your while.

  • I can't get someone to step me through a bunch of useless processes, only to tell me that they can't help me and that whatever part I need isn't covered?
  • No way man! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @09:15AM (#41067707)
    You mean when you artificially jack up prices, people will try to find a way around it?
    I'm shocked.
  • by markdj (691222) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @09:26AM (#41067833)
    There a number of factors that lead to price differentials between countries.

    1. Tax differences - Aussie GST is 10%. No US state has a sales tax that high. Aussie prices are quoted with tax included. US prices are not.
    2. Labor costs- US retail workers are paid less
    3. Size of the market - Costs in the US can be spread over a much larger customer base than in Australia.
    4. Shipping costs - Shipping to Australia is more expensive than to a US address, even from Asia!
    5. Import duties differences
    6. Copyright and patent licensing fees differences
    There may be others.
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      1. Tax differences - Aussie GST is 10%. No US state has a sales tax that high. Aussie prices are quoted with tax included. US prices are not.

      In many cities in California, the sales taxes (state, city, etc.) add up to 9.75%. The real difference is the second statement you make (sales taxes not included in prices).

    • by Relayman (1068986)
      1. was discussed in the article. When you import, you still pay the GST. Not a factor.
      3. Unless the product is different in Australia, the cost should be the same. Not a factor.
      4. That will be similar for regular store vs. grey market. Not a factor.
      5. They should be the same regardless of source. Not a factor.
      6. They should be the same. Not a factor.

      That leaves 2. as the only difference and that's not enough to explain the price difference.
      • by markdj (691222)
        I guess you don't understand International Business 101.

        I was not addressing the gray market, I was pointing out why Aussie prices are expected to be higher than US prices.

        Most companies require their country divisions to factor in the costs of doing business in that country to the prices they charge in that country. They don't spread their costs over all their customers worldwide. They do it by maket. It costs more to do business in Australia than the US simply because of the size of the market.

        Ea
    • 1. Tax differences - Aussie GST is 10%. No US state has a sales tax that high. Aussie prices are quoted with tax included. US prices are not.

      Clearly you've never been to Chicago (yes I know its not a state but more people live here than in many other states). Ok, fine, so its not 10.25% general sales tax anymore after the county lowered rates a bit--now its just 9.5% unless you are buying prepared food near the center of the city in which case its back up to 10.5%.

      I always wonder why the Apple store on Michigan Ave does so much business...You could order the same thing from amazon (and have it tomorrow with Prime) and save an extra $100-200 i

      • by HungWeiLo (250320)

        "I always wonder why the Apple store on Michigan Ave does so much business...You could order the same thing from amazon (and have it tomorrow with Prime) and save an extra $100-200 in taxes. "

        The kind of people who would line up for 30 minutes in front of the Apple store and deal with crowds when they could just buy the same thing from a nearby Target with 10 of them in stock probably don't have the mental capacity to plan that far ahead and skip out on their instant gratification.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Steam charges ~50% more for many games if you access from Ausralia, however:

      1. They don't charge GST and hence don't quote it.
      2. They don't employ any retail workers in Australia.
      3. There are no additional costs to spread.
      4. There is no shipping, it's a download.
      5. There are no import duties paid.
      6. There are no additional copyright or patent licensing fees. There would be fees for having the product rated but since there's no Australian presence that's not their problem.

      What there really is is:

      1. You charg

  • A lot of electronics in Mexico are 20-50% more expensive compared to the USA. The Apple MBP is 500 USD more expensive, for example. And then there is the warranty bullshit. Yesterday I bought a SHDC memory card with, according to the packaging, 5 years of (limited) warranty. Upon opening one finds a small paper that "replaces all warranties" and gives only 90 days. I am not sure about the legality of this, and if it actually "replaces" the warranty. When I asked around a bit, Western Digital claimed that if

    • by HungWeiLo (250320)

      Fry's Electronics advertises things like TVs or washing machines sometimes while omitting the brand and model. I've heard rumors from an employee friend there that these are most likely the Latin American market lines, and they're made to a lower spec. Same with some appliances sold at Walmart and Costco - a fridge may have a skinnier seal or a smaller motor or something like that.

      Anybody have any anecdotal data on this alleged practice?

      • by Jeng (926980)

        Yes, I have heard of Fry's and Walmart carrying items that are below the standard specs for those items, but I have never heard of it being because of products meant for a different market.

        It is usually the case that if Walmart advertises a name brand TV for much less than you can get elsewhere that it has less options than ones found elsewhere and therefor you can't do price matching since they are not the same item.

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @09:59AM (#41068175)

    Here in Sweden it's not just a matter of pricing but also with delayed releases since manufacturers want to sell localized products.

    What this means is that even if I'm fine with an English-language version of a product (or in many cases, Swedish-language version with a quickstart pamphlet in English) no one is selling the product because they hold off on introducing it to the Swedish market until the initial rush for the product in English-language markets is over.

    Case in point, the Nexus 7 tablet. No company in the US will sell it directly to Swedish customers, Asus has announced they're going to start selling it in october(!) and the only way to get one right now is through some grey import channel (have it shipped via some address in the US/UK or from some small fly-by-night company that caters to early adopters).

    It used to be that even software suffered from this, many older Swedish gamers will remember having to wait for months while games were translated to German, French and Spanish before being released to the Swedish market (with most Swedish gamers playing games with the language set to English with a handful using Swedish if its available).

    I'm all in favor telling corporations they can have their precious "free" trade only if the same freedoms are given to everyone, no "We own the trademark so you can't import our product from a market we give a fuck about and sell it on a market we don't care about" crap, if you're selling it anywhere then anyone should be free to ship it to somewhere else and sell it there as well.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I can understand the reasoning with media that would need to be translated in that if the majority of the market buys the english version then there will not be enough of a market to support a swedish version.

      But it makes absolutely no sense for things that don't need translation.

  • Although there is an unjustifiable disparity for the common items they examined, it's even worse for specialist equipment.

    E.g. I would like to purchase a large format printer to be able to print and sell my photographs. The price difference between the US and Australia is over 100% !

    B and H - $1,575.00 [bhphotovideo.com]

    computeronline.com.au - $3645.00 inc GST [computeronline.com.au]

    camerapro.net.au - $3,156.00 [Includes GST] [camerapro.net.au]

    Although Australia is a smaller market than the US, and so there are higher stock costs and lower turnover, having something c

    • by pspahn (1175617)

      A little over a year ago, I worked briefly for a start-up here in Denver run by an Aussie. The model revolved around high-end/niche designer clothes made here in the US. A majority of these boutique shops had little to no overseas distribution, let alone distribution to AU.

      The pricing structure did kind of blow me away. Since I was building their Magento site, I saw all the numbers. Take a blouse for example. The typical US price would be, let's say $200. They would then convert that price to $AU, add bit

  • Here in CH we have a similar or perhaps even worse situation. Anything we buy comes at a premium price for no apparent reason. Sure, we get the best products available -as most developed countries do- but service can be quite rough. As procedures are in place and mostly high end products are sold, there are very few defects and/or dissatisfied customers. When something breaks then the CH business are either inexperienced in dealing with such cases or only see their side of the coin and complain about loosin
  • Dude in San Francisco buy 50$ game, with amazon shop credits, and pay 20$.
    Dude in Sydney pay 150$ for the game.

    Dude in Sydney get the exact same version, binary exact version.

    Fuck regional pricing, fuck them in the ass!.

  • My own example ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ras (84108) <russell-slashdot@stuar t . id.au> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @06:09PM (#41075281) Homepage

    An example that has been pissing me off for weeks. A Dell M4700, with a 2.6GHz i7-3720QM, 8Gb RAM, 500 Gb HDD, IPS 1920x1080 display, 3 yr warranty.

    From www.dell.com.au: AUD$3600.

    From www.dell.com: $1550.

    Surely they can't be serious. That's 230% more for the same thing.

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