News National Amazon backflips on decision to block Australians from shipping goods from US store

Amazon backflips on decision to block Australians from shipping goods from US store

As treasurer, Scott Morrison was highly critical of Amazon's decision to block Australians from shopping at its US store. Photo: Reuters
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Australians will be able to take full advantage of the upcoming Black Friday sales in the US after online retail juggernaut Amazon reversed its controversial decision to block shipping goods from its US store down under.

Amazon’s initial decision to block sales followed the Federal Government’s decision to charge GST for international purchases made online.

However, the move was met with significant backlash from consumers, which Amazon cited as the main driver in the reversal of its earlier decision.

“As a result of customer feedback, from 22 November Amazon customers will be able to ship eligible items from to Australian delivery addresses,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

“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.”

A win for consumers

Speaking to The New Daily, chair of retail business consultancy Retail Doctor Group David Kindl said the change is good news for Australian consumers, and said it was encouraging to see Amazon listen and respond to customers’ concerns.

However, he added that local businesses will all now face an additional threat to competition, and will need to work “extra hard” to meet consumer needs.

E-commerce expert Scott Kilmartin similarly said this announcement will place pressure on Australian retailers, who will now “have to deal with big Amazon instead of baby Amazon”.

Mr Kilmartn added that the timing of the announcement, only days before the huge annual Black Friday sales in the US, was “no coincidence”.

“Australians have become really aware of these sales over the last five years,” he said.

GST excuse doesn’t add up

At the time of Amazon’s decision to block sales from its US and UK stores to Australia, the company said it was doing so to ensure it remained compliant with GST laws, but Mr Kindl and Mr Kilmartin both questioned this reasoning.

“Blaming GST was a bit rich,” Mr Kindl said, “even in the US alone there are plenty of taxes they would have had to deal with”.

Mr Kilmartin said it was almost “comical” for a business with the technological prowess of Amazon to say it couldn’t find an alternative way to meet GST obligations, and said in all likelihood their argument “wasn’t the whole truth”.

“There’s definitely more to this story,” he said.