We all love it! That brand new - fresh off the runway fashion, the latest high tech gadgets AND fidget spinners 🙄. The internet has it all, and the last five years has seen a huge shift in Australian shopping habits, with annual consumer spending topping $20 Billion at our favourite online retailers in 2016. And with more choice and competition, who can blame us? The best deals are always found online, until now.
Following a price hike on Digital Content that saw Netflix subscriptions rise up to 20%, The Australian government has now passed legislation requiring all imported goods sold online to be subject to GST, something previously reserved for more expensive purchases that were over a $1000 threshold.
So what does this mean for you? Well one of two things: Either those gorgeous shoes you spotted in store for $300, but found on ASOS for just $249 will now be no cheaper than the expensive retailer, and unfortunately this is best case scenario… Many international retailers including Ebay, AliExpress, Etsy and ASOS expressed their dismay with the proposal which would expect them to be responsible for collecting and reporting tax on their sales, sparking concern that many retailers will simply cease shipping to Australia all together, which is a HUGE step backwards for Australian consumers who will no longer have access to competitive pricing.
As it stands it appears there’s no turning back, and the price hike is set to hit consumers on July 1st, 2018. But while you may be feeling pretty down right about now, there is one other bit of news that we can still act on. The method in which this new tax is collected is yet to be decided, and the Productivity Commission is accepting submissions and ideas from the public on how this should be done. Currently, for purchases above $1000, it is the shipping companies responsibility to collect GST and report it to the taxation office, however this system as it stands is extremely flawed and would crippleamongst the increase in demand that we’re about to see if it isn’t changed.
I recently ordered a camera from overseas and was alerted that it had arrived in Australian Customs on Monday. After an excruciating week of peering out of the front window every time I heard a van trundled down my street, with no updates to the tracking, I begrudgingly decided to give the shipping company a call. After 30 minutes on the phone, a lovely conversation with RoboLady, some sick hold tunes and transfers between three departments whilst being ensured that my call was important, I was eventually able to pay the GST, un securely, over the phone with my credit card. One day later my package was released from customs and it arrived two days later (Hurrah!).
Now that’s no fun for the occasional big spend, but just imaging having to follow this process for every Etsy and Ebay purchase. Not to mention the monumental spike in demand that would be placed on these phone lines which clearly aren’t designed for customer interaction, let alone at a large scale. And as we’ve established, we certainly don’t want to leave it up to these websites to collect the tax and risk losing the big names altogether. So if you have any awesome ideas on how to make this whole situation just a little less crappy, submit them here.
For the mean time, we’ve got 12 months of bargains so let’s make the most of it!