Consumer watchdog says Australians are being ripped off big-time by retailers

Choice, an advocate of consumer rights in Australia, submitted a report to the Productivity Commission’s retail inquiry and demanded that Australian retailers should explain and justify the astounding mark-ups of a minimum of 50 percent over the international internet companies’ prices.

The consumer group, Choice, also said that global companies doing business in Australia prevent local consumers from taking advantage of cheaper prices offered on overseas websites.

According to the consumer watchdog, the appreciation in the value of the Australian dollar currency is a clear indication that local retailers can afford to offer a bigger savings to consumers.

Another clear example of the rip-off is a recent discovery by Choice of a major Australian sports retailer selling a pair of Nike running shoes at $240, well in fact, the same exact item can be purchased from an online store based in the US at only $134.

Choice also stated that even Australian iTune Stores are making a huge fortune selling top music albums from the time that the prohibition of Australians buying music from the USiTunes store was passed, thereby leaving them with no other alternative but to put up with the 73 percent price mark-up per album.

Another instance cited of this rip-off is this recent discovery of an Australian online store adding a whopping 91 percent mark up over the online Asian retailer’s price for popular video games such as Portal 2 for both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.

Christopher Zinn, Choice Campaigns Director, cited a number of instances that prove that retailers in Australia are ripping off Australians big time – overpricing by ruthlessly padding up prices for imported commodities from the US, including entertainment systems, and motorcycles to name a few.

Big-named retailers such as Borders and Target for instance, are part of a group that opposed that “$1000 GST free threshold” for items purchased in international retail stores. They claim that this is unfair and may threaten jobs.

Although over 3500 smaller shops joined the bandwagon of protesters, the fact remains that even though the GST free entrance is abolished; it wouldn’t have much of an impact to dissuade Australians from favoring or patronizing online stores that offer tremendous discounts and savings over the overpriced retailers in Australia.

Choice also pointed out the issue about blocking or prohibiting the use of Australian credit cards for purchasing items on international websites and having them digitally delivered. This is a desperate and unfair attempt to discourage Australian consumers from purchasing items on international websites a subtler form of blackmail or simply just a harsher way of eradicating all other alternative options for Australians to get items from.

Whatever happened to the advocacy of empowering consumers to making wise decisions when faced with a plate of options? How can you make a selection when you only have but one option?


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