Saturday Deluxe / 2 June 2018

Amazon to block Australian shoppers from its international sites

Australian music fans – who were probably pleased when Amazon opened down under late last year – may now have reason to feel aggrieved, since the online global retailer has announced that due to new GST (Goods and Services Tax) rules, they will no longer ship overseas from other Amazon sites to customers in Australia. This effectively denies Aussie shoppers access to the global marketplace where physical music, and other goods, can often be acquired much more cheaply than locally.

At the moment, imports of goods worth less than AU $1,000 are GST-free – this includes physical music – but from 1 July it will apply to all online purchases, no matter how small the price tag. The Australian government have implemented this to create ‘a level playing field’ – to protect local ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses (such as JB Hi-Fi) against online competitors.

Amazon say they don’t have an issue with the principle, but do have a problem with the mechanism which requires them to collect the GST on behalf of the government for all purchases. The online giant claim Australia Post should be used to collect GST on goods imported to Australia, not the retailers themselves.

“We have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites,” an Amazon spokeswoman said on Thursday.

From 1 July if any Australian customers try to access any of the international Amazon sites will be redirected to Amazon.com.au. Even trying to hide your IP address will be pointless, because Amazon will block shipping to Australia.

The exception to all this, is Amazon’s fairly recent initiative called ‘global store’. This is where they make certain items from the US site available to purchase on their other stores. These products will be available (via Amazon.com.au), but the problem is that it only applies to Amazon.com (and not the UK or German site, for example) and it’s a tiny selection – less than one percent of the 500m items available on Amazon.com.

This is a bitter blow for SDE readers and music fans based in Australia who are now effectively locked out of SDE deal alerts and the wide array of products that might be cheaper to import. Amazon’s opposition to collecting GST is hard to understand – they don’t have a problem complying to UK laws and collecting 20 percent VAT for a large percentage of items on sale. They also go out of their way to make buying from Amazon.com easy for us Brits, going so far as to allow us to pay an ‘import fees deposit’ and they handle all the pesky import charges with the designated carrier. They clearly have the systems and resources to do it, just not the will.

We can only hope that the Australian government will either review the mechanism of collection or Amazon will reconsider their current stance.

I know some of you have left messages already about this issue, but would of course like to hear from more of you affected, particularly with any insight to the local issues and the politics around the decisions.

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.


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[…] international sites and will now accept some orders from overseas. The online global retailer had previously announced that due to new GST (Goods and Services Tax) rules, they would no longer ship overseas from other […]

Alan Blevin

Paul I realise this thread has just about dropped off the page so no one will probably read this but I have found a prime example of how Amazon are working the whole.com.au/Amazon global operation.
The Sgt Pepper box is currently $114 on Amazon.com which translates to about $152 Australian.On Amazon.com.au Amazon.com is the cheapest seller as they appear on their Third Party Sellers List.However the price is $239 (plus postage).So even if there is a Amazon.com listing it is not at the same price as it appears on that web site.In this case it is a mark up of $87 which is nearly 60%!
They really must think Australians are stupid.


Amazon Australia is pathetic, their prices are ridiculously high as a lot of the stuff comes from Overseas sellers. I order a lot from Amazon UK, so without them I will have to start looking for alternative sites overseas to order from. This whole GST thing is supposed to protect the bricks and mortar stores, but in reality all it is is a cash grab for the government, they are the only ones that will be seeing any money from it. It is going to be a nightmare to implement and I don’t see how it will be sustainable. Most people will be like me and start looking for alternative sites to order from… and E-Bay sales to Australians will increase substantially!


Appreciate the issue down under – but thought I’d point out a bargain found today on Amazon AU … Kate Bush triple live vinyl is under 36 AUD (around £20) at the moment. https://www.amazon.com.au/Before-Dawn-Vinyl-KATE-BUSH/dp/B01LTHMSEI


Apologies if covered already, rather a long thread to scroll through.

The issue is with how the Australian Government has implemented this. In virtually all countries the tax (VAT/GST) due is collected by customs and your carrier when the package arrives in the country. This is how Amazon.com import fees deposit works. The money you pay Amazon.com is handed to the carrier who pass to customs and then the package is released for delivery. This is all done electronically. You do though need to use a carrier like LandMark or iParcel (part of UPS) who Amazon.com use and will provide this service. You can’t just put in the normal mail with US Post and Royal Mail as they won’t do it. Hence with them the dreaded card from your sorting office and an £8 handling fee to cover their manual process.

Because Australian customs and Australia Post refused to handle this import fees approach the Australian Government are requiring all overseas retailers selling more than A$75k per year into Australia to be registered with the Australian tax authorities and then to pay them directly with details of orders and amounts etc. so puts a much more onerous admin requirement on Amazon and other retailers. This is what is causing the Amazon black listing.

Australians needs to be complaining to the Government and demand they implement the same system as used in UK, rest of European Union and Canada. If it works in the rest of the world no reason why it can’t in Australia.

Regarding other retailers black listing Australian delivery addresses, I know one already doing this is the UK entertainment retailer Base.com However I believe they only sell CDs in addition to DVDs and games, not vinyl so probably not on the radar of many readers here.

Alan Blevin

This method is terrible for the consumer.You have mentioned the £8 handling fee and the trip to the sorting office.These people have to handle money on each transaction which they would have no need to otherwise.There is no technical reason Amazon couldn’t do this if eBay which acts for hundreds of thousands of sellers can.Amazon do it already for Canada and Singapore.
The import fees approach is a terrible one for the customer.The technology exists for Amazon to do the Australian system.If there was no Amazon.com.au they wouldn’t have done it.
As for Base.com they have had some restrictions on delivering to Australia for a long time before this tax was proposed.I have contacted around 30 overseas retailers that I use,explained the tax changes and everyone of them has said they will continue shipping to Australia after July 1.
At this point it might be wise to consider that Amazon has set up extraordinary corporate structures to avoid paying tax and they seem equally averse to collecting them.


FUCK Amazon!!!!!!

Sorry Paul but it needs saying…….

Will we still be able to order from JPC.de?? I know that locks us Aussies out of all Amazon orders and deals tho :( Can you still widget deals on JPC.de??
Very sad


More like FUCK the Australian government. They are harming consumers, the ignorant morons.


Amidst all these frustrations, has anyone considered the environmental impact of shipping of untold thousands of tons of product to Austrialia from UK, Europe and the US? Ditto, to the US from the UK, etc. (And in many instance accompanied by the gleeful avoidance of tax).

Iain Carmichael

Usually, the pain of visiting SDE ,is being made aware of yet another “must have”. Hats off to you Paul . I won’t abandon you but this is a real blow to this colonial . We have been spoiled I can tell you. 90% of my Amazon purchases are via Amazon UK. Postage is never more than £3.58 no matter if it’s one disc or a massive box set. Always £3.58. About $6 OZ.
And with the VAT deduction of all purchases , there have been some superb bargains over the years. A blanket ban on all international sites is quite a shock. I can’t imagine it’s permanent, but this is an awful decision .
I have several orders that are not released until after July including a signed Folds brick box and signed hitchhiker deluxe. If you missed out they may reappear . Good luck !!

Neil R

Just been told by Amazon UK that my pre-order of the PIL box set will not be honoured because I live in Australia, and that I should go to Amazon AUS. Funny, but it is not available for pre-order here!
Strange world, Amazon UK have the product, I have the money and yet we cannot complete a transaction. That is not how I thought business worked!

Alan Blevin

See Darren’s post below.What he has been told is what I’ve been told as well.Anything ordered before July 1 means the transaction has occurred before the tax changes and is not subject to them regardless of release/delivery date.
I only have 1 post July 1 order at .co.uk -99 From The Vault combo which naturally is not available in Australia- and a few at .com where I had some credits I was given due to botched mailing process which I suddenly realised I better use before I lost them.


So does this include the 1 click settings in which with the preorders the credit card is charged upon dispatch. I wonder if that’s honoured as well. I have many preordered and I don’t want to miss out on the 5 star luxury signed box set. Did you ask them that question about the 1 click setting. I’ve had orders cancelled as they couldn’t obtain the product. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they won’t do that to us, say the product is unavailable.


Paul, we are being screwed left right and centre by this wretched govt in Australia. And the majority of idiots keep voting these b*stards back in. People voting against themselves and their choices. Beggars belief.

Alan Blevin

I am no fan of the current Australian government but this is 100% on Amazon.They are the only company doing this.Besides both sides of politics are in favour of the tax so voting them out because of this won’t change anything.
Paul regarding the SDE shop my reading of the legislation means you have to have annual turnover of physical goods in Australia of more than $75000 before the tax applies to your business or the goods you ship.


Alan, Amazon may be the only retailer publicly saying they are blocking Australian customers so far, but it won’t stop many hundreds of smaller retailers and individuals (such as Paul) doing like-wise due to the red-tape involved.

Can you imagine the lines at your local post-office as we all wait to pay our extra 10% GST on every parcel, along with the threatened $7 Customs surcharge?

Australia Post doesn’t even know how they are supposed to collect the GST and it starts in less than a month.

This is all on the Liberal Government’s watch.

Alan Blevin

Australia Post doesn’t know because the GST won’t be collected at post offices or any other point of delivery.There is no $7 customs charge either.The only way the GST will be collected is at point of sale.
This method has less red tape than any other method of collecting the tax and it is why it was chosen.
I have contacted over 30 overseas retailers of various sizes including the Amazon owned Book Depository specifically mentioning the GST changes and they have all responded and every one of them has said they will continue to ship to Australia.
I am not defending the current government.In 46 years of voting-giving my age away – I have never voted for that side of politics.This tax has bipartisan support in the Australian parliament.


No that’s not true amazon isn’t the only retailer saying they are blocking Australians. Apparently the Australian government had contacted 3000 online retailers about implementing the Australian GST as other online retailers may follow blocking us. This applies to businesses that earn more than $75,000 a year from Australia. So basically we are blocked & locked out of the international market globally. Which is appalling in harming Australian consumers, whom can’t get products that aren’t sold here. I will not vote for Malcolm Turnbull next election. As they got no systems in place in collecting GST. Does this mean we have to 10% GST on goods we buy second hand. Ridiculous. The GST on low value items should be scrapped. I not I,pressed, not happy about this at all.

Glen Buchanan

OK Australia, (and New Zealand), get together and vote these governments out. And if you have a wonderful independent record store in your locale, cherish it and give it your business.


Like Dixons in Melbourne.


Following is a quick example of what this means for someone buying Bob Dylan’s Trouble No More Deluxe Edition (in Australian dollars).

Overseas purchase: US Amazon $174
Local purchase: Amazon Australia $299.

Some things just don’t seem to add up.


Paul Sinclair, The Australian GST is applied to online businesses overseas that earn $75,000 or more a year from Australian consumers Buying overseas as these businesses need to register within the Australian tax department for GST. It’s on the ATO Website, So popular websites like Amazon, eBay, book Depository will need to register. As amazon doesn’t want to they are blocking us instead. Which makes it difficult for us to shop overseas. So it applies to big businesses. Not the very small. The businesses are arguing it’s the countries responsibility to collect tax not the retailers.

Your business is very small so the GST doesn’t apply to The SDE Store. So I think it’s still safe for you to ship to Australia, which will be fantastic for Us & will help us immensely. So please don’t stop shipping to US please. Thank you Paul


All retailers must pay tax so that we are able to fund the services our communities require.

If Amazon are refusing to collect this tax then they shouldn’t be allowed to trade. Oddly they manage to collect tax in the USA and Europe so they clearly can’t be bothered to update their systems. Being Amazon are more than capable of integrating into complex bespoke shipping systems in each territory, they will already of the capability of processing bespoke tax rules.

On another note, I have no interest in preserving prehistoric shops on dying high streets. people need to move on. We live in a world of globalised commerce and as such we need to be channeling this and not restricting this.


This government has dragged our country back several decades since their election 5 years ago. They are intimately incompetent and very much at the disposal of special interests. I hope they all end up destitute for the things they’ve done, but that’s unlikely to happen, isn’t it?


It seems to me like the first thing wrong with that statement is the idea that there are costs in collecting tax, rather than benefits to collecting it.

If I cash a check at my bank, or if you sell a stock at your brokerage, we have to wait two or three days for these transactions to “clear.” During that time, those institutions are holding and earning interest on our and millions of others’ money as it goes from, say, our employer’s balance sheet to our own. And they still probably charge us for the transaction!

We’re all familiar with the idea of tax being calculated at the register and itemized on a receipt. It’s part of doing business that any merchant selling taxable items already does for their own government at the point of sale.

What’s the difference of doing it for another government except the percentage and the payee? An online retailer—particularly a behemoth like Amazon—who, by virtue of being a virtual retailer only—for the purposes of the international order under discussion—is only ever taking digital currency (credit/debit card, Apple Pay, PayPal, gift card, merchant loyalty points, credit card cash-back feature or “miles,” traveler’s check, bank transfer, cryptocurrency, etc.) in the first place, knows at the point of sale where the payment is coming from and where the item is going to in the second place. Why shouldn’t a retailer in that situation be the one to alert the customer to any and all taxes due on the item and provide both us and our respective governments the convenience of paying them in the same transaction in which we buy the item?

(And by the way, in all of those parenthetical instances all of those entities are also earning interest for the period of time they “hold” the amount in question before your transaction is complete.)

It’s laughable that someone would estimate a cost to the Australian government of $1.2 Billion to collect $300 million in tax themselves. That may well be what it would cost to create their own platform. But there are all manner of business solutions companies that could scale this to provide tax customization services free to smaller businesses. After all, there are costs to merchants’ compliance with all of the forms of payment I enumerated, which, if you choose to look at it that way, themselves bureaucracies.

It does seem to me that Amazon’s domestic e-tail business model is built on the contradiction that people are so against seeing additional fees applied to purchases that they’re willing to pay $120 a year in advance to avoid individual shipping and handling charges. (Which in turn creates the psychological phenomenon that in paying the $120 they feel freed up to order MORE than the shipping they have paid in advance for.)

So yes, in the specific instance of an international order for which shipping is being charged, Amazon, who’ve already building a paradigm to lure customers adverse to “hidden costs,” would themselves be adverse to adding tax upon the shipping charge. As others in this thread have noted, it’s often still cheaper to pay for shipping from another country’s Amazon than to source these items locally on import or have a local store order them. And as with any tax, it’s something those subject to said tax eventually figure into the cost of the items they buy.

But the masses are not rational, and taxation is an historically fraught concept that inherently elicits rebellion.

Having said all that, I happily pay the taxes that pay for the collective good I enjoy in my country, and I am an Amazon Prime member who begrudgingly sometimes orders from an international Amazon site. If the shoe were on the other foot, and it were Australia that had developed Amazon and the intellectual property behind most of the products sold therein, I would rather Amazon Australia collect my U.S. taxes than for them to refuse to sell to me.

Paul Murphy

Isn’t there some thing where, if you want to sell on Amazon, or sell above a certain amount, you have to lodge your tax and NI details with them for them to pass on either cash or details to the Inland Revenue? I don’t have the interest to Google it but I have a vague memory of somesuch change coming in and being in the news, regarding people doing online sales, a few years back. Anyway, my main reason of sticking my pixels in was to say that hopefully you’ll be able to find some way to help our friends down below Paul, we get some of the most level-headed and interesting posts on this site from your regulars from the antipodes.


Paul, it would not be even the remotest impost on Amazon. They already do it. All they need is the Australian government’s bank account details and to make regular deposits of all the GST they collect, just as they do with VAT in Europe and state sales taxes in the US. They are pretending it’s very difficult for them to do. Complete lies. As I wrote in a previous post, Amazon’s doing this to shore up the utter failure that is their Australian site.

Mathew Lauren

Well said, Paul. I believe in, as well as support, “bricks and mortar stores,” as well as small biz, at times to my detriment, financially ($). It’s not always more expensive, though, as I purchased some 4K UHD Steelbooks, locally on Friday, for half ($) the Internet Stores’ ask, and I walked out with product in hand (no shipping wait). Quite a $teal (pun intended). We have anti-trust laws, here in “the States,” so that there are NOT shops dying on “High Street” — something that ushers in crime and poverty. We, also, have: buy local, local RSD’s (quarterly) & AMEX et al “shop local” biz days, especially around the holidays.

It’s NEVER a good thing, when ONE company “holds all the cards” and “corners the marketplace.” It is imperative to any FREE MARKET economy, that small businesses succeed. Red tape and gov’t bureaucracy drive many, small businesses (the backbone of the U.S. economy) out of the marketplace. As far as AMAZON, the ONLY place I can consistently find modern, surround-sound recordings is through the AMAZON marketplace. Shame, really, but it is what it is, for now. RE: Australia, it simply needs to work this out ASAP, for the good of its citizens.



I feel for you, so i can get my head around these rules, if someone bought from Ebay at say A$200 put it on the customs form the correct amount, would you pay customs tax on it when it arrives. I know you do not at the moment but will that change.

Alan Blevin

Anything bought on eBay after July 1 will have the GST added at time of sale and will be included in the price given to you at that time.

Aaron Van Wyk

This is a cop out due to the Australian businessman crybaby, Harvey Norman who’s been bleating for years to the Australian government that people are buying from overseas. Harvey Norman or as I call him, Hardly Normal, it’s your business model that’s failing. Is it not the governments & big businesses alike which have been pushing for a Global Economy for many years? But only if it suits themselves & not the consumer… Maybe Amazon Australia needs to pick up their game due to lack of vinyl product & price. I purchase vinyl from Amazon UK mainly due to preorder price drop guarantee, vinyl which is NOT released or ridiculously over priced here in Australia. I prefer to support the limited local independent music stores in my city however, if a specific vinyl release is not released locally in Australia they have to order it in, which costs more. JB Hifi is generally top price product, occasionally will reduce some titles or the rare 20% off days. Even though JB HiFi has a preorder price drop guarantee, their preorder price NEVER drops prior to release, unlike like Amazon UK.
If all else fails, I’ll find it via an Ebay store.


Our inexperienced NZ govt has also said that they expect the over seas suppliers to collect the GST for them as from next year. Same as Australia.
Even though it will apply to all suppliers overseas, they are calling it the AMAZON TAX!!!
How dumb is that, Maybe why Amazon has said no way.


Throwing the question out there. Does the policy change affect all sites, not just Amazon sites?

I buy from importcds, screen archives entertainment, music box records etc, not just Amazon. In the past I have bought from superdeluxeedition and I just pre-ordered the Rick Astley Beautiful Life album from Rick’s site. Will they ship in the future or not accept orders if they have to collect and pass on the GST?

With Rick, the money has been taken from my account. So it has been paid for before 1 July. Delivery is however after the 1st. What will happen?

Will wait and see. In the meantime I have been ordering some long delayed purchases ahead of the change.

Pete {in Australia}

As music has been my passion, since I first learnt to work my folks record player, before talking at 2.5, when the availability of ordering from overseas websites, was discovered by me, I was Heaven.
I love collecting music, in hard format, and always looking for the cheapest option, to feed my collection.
I would LOVE to support local bricks and morta – stores, but honestly, the prices, that they charge via the record company distributors, are so inflated, why would I.
For example, last year, I wanted to grab the Fleetwood Mac, “Tango in The Night”, super deluxe box, set. As pre-orders, it was locally, the cheapest, $175A + postage, and from Amazon UK, it was $65A, postage all up. A few weeks after, the release date and me, receiving my copy, the local price, went down to $99A, with postage.

When AMAZON Australia, hit the net, in December, I was super-excited, but soon, that faded. ten titles, i looked up, came back with, not available.

Recently when the new, The Motels, album was being released, The Motels, told me it would be available via Amazon Australia.
At the time, it was $29.95A + $7.50 postage. I left it and eventually got it locally via Sanity, for $20A + $1.50postage. NOW it is showing $53.41A as an import, but wait, free postage, as it is over $50.
I wanted the new deluxe Snow Patrol, which is NOT available locally, unless you downloaded it. So got it direct from their store, even though Amazon UK, price was similiar.
Looked on Amazon Australia: no deluxe, just the standard edition, at $29.95A + $8.00A, postage, with a wait time of four to five weeks.
Most local places, it is $19.99 and in stock.
Quatro, Scott and Powell, on vinyl, finally showing, but it is $48.21A + $8. postage, or from the UK it is $38.53A + $6.32A postage, so still cheaper {not by much} from the UK.

Amazon UK, as I have been a customer for years, I get a discount, which always is nice. I get heaps of exclusives, or music, that would not EVEN get a blink in this country, some I get, some I do not, like the deluxe version of Snow Patrol’s newie.

So, for me, I am yet to see the benefit of having AMAZON Australia, and guess that AMAZON in general will be losing heaps of my business.
Even if i was to pay 10% more, on Overseas orders, it still would be cheaper, at THIS STAGE, than dealing with AMAZON Australia.

I get that the government wants to tax items, from Overseas, I get that we cannot get everything available here, but why do we as collectors, consumer, customers, need to be pin-holed into liking everything the mainstream folk do.

Alot of the music, I collect, is just not available in AUSTRALIA, bottom line……………….

ps: Gifting items does not always work either. Recently sent a T-shirt and 2 CD’s, to friends in England. Marked as Gift, and value about $70Aust. They got charged 30.58 pounds – customs.


This is just a horrible decision, I am devastated. I have purchased a huge amount of music, movies, books on Amazon UK, USA, Germany, Italy, etc, etc. I also purchase a large amount from Australian stores such as JB HiFi and independent retailers.
My decision of where to purchase is partly driven by price, but mainly driven by choice. The critical fact is that Australian retailers simply do not carry the choice that I can get from international online retailers.
My world has suddenly significantly shrunk, this is such sad day.


We are very limited here in Australia you’d have to order from other websites like eBay, or directly from the artists websites as I have bought music from Lexarmusic.com you can get soft Cell, pet shop boys, Erasure, Alison Moyet, Etc. But it costs more than Amazon but the service is excellent delivers items on time. I ordered directly off the rick Astley website. The only thing I’ll miss out is on is the signed version of 5 Star luxury box set in which they changed the release date. You can also get CDs from Importcds.com which they sell on eBay AU too is an USA website, they discount their prices. It’s very disappointing we can’t buy from Amazon international sites anymore. It’s an slap in the face for Australians. The $1000 allowance per person has been abolished. So basically we get nothing. We have to pay tax on everything. I’ll miss out getting the def Leppard box sets Vol.2, 3, & 4. It’s an sad for Australia’s music lovers. Who refuse to pay for inferior MP3 downloads.

Glen Buchanan

I live in Canada and I’m a lifelong Marc Bolan Fan. Marc was never really popular in North America so most of my imports come from the UK. Every year on Record Store Day UK Bolan vinyl is offered that is never for sale in Canada. But my favourite independent record store, Vertigo Records, Always seems able to get me a copy at a very competive price. At the same time they bring in a few extra and I know there are other Bolan fans here because they always sell. In return I order all of my vinyl from them if they don’t have it already in stock. I wouldn’t go elsewhere to save a dollar or two. So it’s a win win situation with a lot of benefits. When my husband went in to buy a gift certifate for me before Christmas they alerted him to an EP they knew I wouldn’t have. The personal attention they give is wonderful and they deserve loyal customers. Every city should have a great record store like this!


It’s absolutely not just about ‘cheaper to import’. To say, as some others are saying here in this Comments section, it’s ‘more impact on their wallets rather than restricting their engagement with culture’ is incorrect.

There are many non-mainstream music items from Amazon UK that are simply not available in Australian stores, or not available in the deluxe version with the inclusion of a 5.1 disc. Plus, being from UK, my interests are skewed to British, and quite a few items of interest to me may not be available through Amazon in the US. ☹

I also frequently buy from the likes of Burning Shed etc. I hope these distributors are not also affected.


Thinking more about it, I have found distributors such as Burning Shed to be quite competitive with Amazon UK (price and postage) and like to purchase from them when I can, though they can run out of stock more quickly sometimes. But maybe these kinds of distributors will benefit from this and will look after us in Oz. (The only loss would Amazon’s quite good return/replacement policy.)

John in Brisbane

This is an inconvenience for me but to be honest I have been considering ditching Amazon UK (I use them more than the US mob) for some time.

The reason? Amazon UK’s packaging is absolute shite. I don’t think I have ever received a double digipack that doesn’t have a huge crease down the centre spine and lately I’ve been getting packages with minimal attempts at sealing them (what, can’t afford sticky tape Amazon UK?) from which CDs have slipped out in transit. Granted they have always replaced the missing CDs without question, but it’s still not good enough.

My impression is that they are so big now they just don’t care.

James A Gates

I’m really at a loss of what to do – Amazon has the best and widest range out there and I order from UK and Japan mainly. This is another example of the Australian government’s short sighted attitude to everything they do. It IS indeed up to the government to collect their own taxes not overseas companies. By the same token Amazons massive failure in Australia due to higher costs and minimal range is surely behind their decision to try and force consumers to use Amazon Au / Global. Sure I can buy stuff off Ebay still but I usually find boixsets (which are going to be the biggest source of my frustration) are priced higher and shipping is ALOT more than Amazons flat rate in the UK. I’m also looking at buying from Grooves Inc but wonder how these other companies will comply with the GST or will Australia Post collect on delivery which they should be doing anyway.


I made contact with Amazon.co.jp last night & they knew nothing about this ??

My main concern Is I really like buying the mini LP CD’s from Japan & I do have a pre-order at the moment for a collection which was due out this month & has been put back to August – which means its likely I won’t be able to get them ::

They haven’t actually said what will happen with Current Pre-Orders :


For us Australians, the great unknown in all this change due in just a few weeks, is what happens in regards to Customs.

What will is cost us to receive a $20 CD or DVD from Discogs or CDImports or any other small overseas retailer? How and where do we pay the GST? At the post office? If so, based on what information? What other ‘service fee’ and ‘handling charges’ will there be?

Will Customs call us to let us know we have a parcel waiting for GST payment?

I imagine many overseas sellers will just stop sending items to Australia, a small market, as it would be just not worth the paperwork involved.

An absolute disgraceful decision by this conservative government, purely to benefit the protectionist rort of the local mafia-retailers (JBHi-Fi, Jarbey Normans etc.), who themselves have decimated small retailers for years.

It just leaves the consumer with smaller product range and higher prices. Back to the future.


Add me to the list of Aussies who regularly buy from Amazon UK and US because many lps and boxed sets are not available here or JB HiFi and their ilk gouge us on price. Previous comments have covered these issues well.
I already buy other items in the US through a forwarding service who physically order on my behalf (when the Rea tailed refuses to ship here) and will be looking at them to now buy music.
I’m going to quote a tweet posted from Francis Leach, Broadcaster and ex Triple J DJ (our ‘youth’ public broadcaster and indie radio) “@SaintFrankly: If @TurnbullMalcolm thinks Australians are going to turn their back on @amazon and be happy to trudge off to Gerry Harvey’s warehouse of junk or Solomon Lew’s over priced and dying emporiums to do their shopping he’s got another thing coming.
You can’t make it 1985 again”
( primer: Turnbull is our PM, Gerry Harvey owns Harvey Norman who lobbied fiercely for this GST change, and Solomon Lew owns interests in department stores)


Hi Tania

Which forwarding service do you use in the US. As I’d like to buy an item, That doesn’t ship here. Thanks do you use an forwarding service in UK.

Alan Blevin

As nearly everyone has pointed out this is a marketing strategy by Amazon and the GST has given them an excuse.In the past few days I have contacted every overseas retailer I use and every one of them has said they will continue to ship to Australia after the change including Book Depository which is owned by Amazon.If eBay which has an infinitely more complex seller model have said they can comply then so could Amazon.Rough Trade replied that the ability to extract and remit taxes from purchases was a standard feature of their software and it would not pose any problems.Amazon has an annual research and development of $30 billion which is 3 times that of the Australian government.The same code that locates and sends us refunds when prices have fallen could be used already to extract and remit the GST.
As for people who have proposed other methods of collecting the tax they are all much more inefficient for the consumer and everyone else in the delivery chain.The postal/courier services need to add fees to recoup the cost of physically collecting the tax and remitting it and a 10% GST can quickly become an effective 20 or 30% one.People in Australia who have had shipments over $1000 have had to pay around $350 in charges on a $1100 order.This is not to mention the problem of having to physically go to a post office/delivery centre in their business hours or be at home when parcel is delivered to pay the tax and collect goods.
Also for concerned customers Amazon will be shipping every order they receive before that date regardless of release or availability date.In the last 24 hours they have also backtracked on blocking Australians from even viewing international Amazon sites which they said they were going to do and would have put them alongside the governments of China and North Korea as regards Internet freedom.
If overseas people are wondering about our contempt for Amazon.com.au here is a quick example(and I could list hundreds).The new Laura Marling album was released locally here in Australia on Friday.Laura is popular here and has done several sold out tours.Amazon.com.au tell us this album will be available from them in 5 weeks time.
There is only one silver lining in this and it won’t help us Australians.If Amazon were thinking about bringing in geoblocking in any other part of the world the ferocious backlash in Australia to this move probably means they won’t be now.

David B

The biggest hit for me will be the inability to access the massive range of Region B Blu rays that are compatible with our region B players in Australia. The range is well beyond what is available in bricks and mortar stores in Australia due to the population differences between the two countries.

Just another reason to vote out this current corrupt, incompetent, coal-loving, joke of a government we’re sadly burdened with down here!


I buy almost all my vinyl from Amazon international sites and have done for many years now. Mainly because of the greater choice available and of course also the price. I understand why the 10% GST should be applied to all purchases to Australia. What I don’t understand, is why the useless coalition government, is able to collect the tax on totals over $1000.00,but not on totals under $1000.00. Surely if the process is available then why not use it, why punish the consumers??


I recently purchased a piece of art from America over the $1000 threshold . The gallery listed its price on the form. It hit customs and then I got a letter telling me I had to work out which tax bracket it was in (not eas to do), provide the initial invoice and th8e post it back. I was then issued an invoice which included gst on the shipping and a $90 handling charge. If you don’t do this in a timely manner you get charged a holding fee.

As Piotr said it’s going to cost them 1.2 billion to collect 300 million so because they’ve agreed to do it they want companies like Amazon to do it for them thus alleviating the cost. They were also talking about adding a $7 handling fee in Australia for packages. I’m going to write to Labor (The Opposition party) and tell them if you want my vote then get rid of this stupid legislation and go back to the way it was.


I think it’s been a couple of years of negotiations to come to this. I believe the Australian Government were going to introduce this in 2017, but the issue of collecting the GST had not been resolved. The Australian Government were asking Amazon and other online retailers to collect the GST on its behalf, but the retailers were saying it’s the Government’s job. The administrative costs of collecting AU$300million of import GST had been estimated at AU$1.2billion, which just goes to show how much bureaucracy costs and became prohibitive for the Government. I can’t actually believe Amazon has decided or agreed to block Australian buyers from making purchases on it’s global sites.
Much like many visitors to SDE I buy a lot of music. Probably way too much for my needs, but it has become almost like an illness. As much as I like to support local bricks and mortar stores, they are simply unable to obtain some items, or are way too expensive for me to “need” them. So Amazon becomes the logical choice for many purchases, much as I dislike their tax dodging tactics with their offshore registered companies.
I’m also very curious what will happen with artists’ official webstores, TMStores, Record Store, Great Offer store etc. Hopefully they will not be affected.


Hi all, and thanks Paul for all you do on this site.
Dan from Sydney. I visit this site frequently but first time posting on what is obviously a pertinent issue for me.

The last few months have seen a few major retail players mobilising and petitioning the government to act on online shopping as several key retail players (not necessarily just music) have started to go south. It’s hard to disagree with the tightening of legislation to keep bricks and mortar shops competitive. It does feel like it’s just as much Amazon’s dummy-spit than the government’s decision. As discussed above, there are several work arounds that don’t seem to have been considered.

The thing is, for most people in Australia I imagine, this tightening will have more impact on their wallets rather than restricting their engagement with culture. And that’s where it hits me. Yes, buying from Amazon UK or US or FR has been cheaper (I could get the same products for slightly higher prices instore in Sydney. But, let’s face it, I can afford it and I’m guessing, for most of us, cultural artefacts are wants rather than needs, so we’re already “overspending” anyway).

I don’t think being moved to the Australian site is a financial bummer; it’s about engaging in shared dialogue with like minded souls about being a music lover. I don’t just come to SDE as a means to buy; I come to read about interesting releases, read people’s reactions to reviews, see people argue the toss about what constitutes good music, good production, good manufacture etc. Even though I don’t post here myself, the voices here are interesting, affirming and valued.
My fear is that being locked out from potentially purchasing the music mentioned will affect my ‘engagement’ here. I’ve always found being a music lover a fairly solitary experience (in a good way), but these communities are valuable and I wonder if I’ll still feel as much a part of it if I can’t access the same experiences ‘in real time’.
Love the site, Paul. Cheers.


One of the problems, and I agree with Amazon on this, is that Aussie shoppers don’t just buy from the U.S. site. I have purchased from the U.S. UK, French and German sites in the past year and have also used the Japanese site once or twice. Amazon argued that it should be couriers in Australia collecting the GST as it made it easier. This is just protectionism. I wonder if when Countries join a Free Trade Agreement with Australia if Amazon could argue that this is a barrier to Free Trade?


Just to clarify the general consensus is that any pre-orders from Amazon UK purchased before July 1 will be cancelled by Amazon if the release date is after this date? I have around 15 items being cancelled if that’s the case.

Just to note 95% of the items i purchase overseas are because they’re signed not generally the price. So i’m extremely disappointed with this decision and hope that no one else follows Amazon and prevents Australian people buying from their site.


Just a heads up to anyone who has got pre-orders with Amazon that are to be delivered after July 1. Here’s the response i received just now from Amazon UK….

* Further to your concern about your pre-order(s), I rest assured you that this goods will be delivered to you as you have placed and purchased it before July 1, 2018

Hopefully the reply i received was correct and in fact they will honor the pre-orders.


Thanks for the heads Up Darren but sometimes amazon can be slow to dispatch goods. So can we still view our orders once we are locked out of the store. No longer can view amazon website. If the items don’t arrive how can we contact amazon customer service. As I have done many times. To tell them if there’s a problem with our order. For replacements. They may choose to use DHL fast delivery.

If they honour our preorders that’s great as I cancelled a few ordered on another website before July 1st.


no doubt, New Zealand will follow. :(


Except NZ is too small for Amazon to bother about yet. The local MightyApe company seems to have cornered much of the potential Amazon market here (but eerily mimics Amazon in very familiar ways – I’m wondering if there is a deal between the two companies).


“From 1 July if any Australian customers try to access any of the international Amazon sites will be redirected to Amazon.com.au. Even trying to hide your IP address will be pointless, because Amazon will block shipping to Australia.”

For the love of big brother. (see what I did there, got in a Eurytmics reference). Anyways, what a crock for the people in Australia. I guess as an alternative they can try Ebay for some things.


They can also try discogs for music, gearogs for electronic and bookogs for books and magazine

Neil R

So sad, I buy from Amazon US and Amazon UK. I also buy from stores in Australia. The problem is that for box sets and reissues the local stores don’t stock them because they don’t see the demand. If they do then the price is often more than double the Amazon price. Amazon have obviously assessed the Australian as too small to be bothered about collecting the GST.
I will still log into SDE and dream! Best wishes Paul and all of the SDE community.


Neil has nailed it. Prices are often well over double for many box sets which of course is my main passion and range of a mere fraction attracted me to Amazon at all its sites in 2000 and more recently importcds.com for 80%+ of my purchases. And there have been many. Another attraction has been their usually reliable sound packaging unlike eBay merchants and Discogs, and easy replacement policy for lost items or items damaged in transit. I’d happily pay GST at my local post office upon arrival and I understand why Amazon feels aggrieved about collecting for the Australian government. Australian Amazon has been putrid with range and prices.

I’ll find a way I guess to get the extended Beatles White Album Box Set and any other Bob Dylan bootleg series collections that are eventually released. But it seems like the death of easy physical media collection for me.

Yes, third world problems but the death of the free market. I just won’t buy stuff rather than buy box sets in Australia at often grossly inflated prices, if I can even actually locate them here.

Steve Benson

Interesting to see what happens when the same policy is implemented by NZ government as there is no Amazon.nz. Can’t see Amazon.au collecting NZ GST. Also what happens to Ausies on 1 July if they have money still sitting on an Amazon.com gift card? Bricks and mortar stores are almost totally gone in NZ. There are some second hand stores which sell a few new items. There is JB HiFi but the vinyl section is now bigger than the ever shrinking CD section. Some items never appear here at any price, eg, the recent Roxy Music box set and 2CD set.

Hugh Hall

I feel sorry for anyone negatively affected by this and I understand the human drive to acquire at the best price available. The problem is Amazon are killing choice and the high street one order at a time. And sadly Australian music buyers are now finding what can happen when all the eggs end up in one basket.

I really dislike Amazon and refuse to buy from them. I would rather pay more than put money in their pocket and much of what I want I find on Ebay at a very comparable price anyway. The way Amazon treat sellers on their site is shocking and the policies they employ to screw as much money out of the sellers is terrible) it’s time someone in government took a look at how they operate, especially as they increase their market share constantly. Finally, and similarly, the fact they pay minimal tax but are more than happy to use the UK’s infrastructure – roads, industrial estates, postmen etc to enable their business model should be looked at as well.

Sorry but we are all slowly paying for allowing Amazon to succeed.


+1 for Hugh’s comment. I would encourage SDE to list prices for retailers other than Amazon. Regardless of any individual government’s policies, the last thing consumers need is greater accumulation of market power by one single company.


Any extra choice would be good Paul. There are some of us who have moral concerns about giving business to Amazon.

O(+> Peter B

That would be good. I already posted a comment about this issue in the German deals article a couple of days ago. I’m Australian and I’m still really pissed off about this.


Hugh, I have to disagree. My own experience with Amazon over 10+ years of shopping has been for the most part very positive. If there are any issues with an item more often than not they will send a replacement without me having to fork out for postage to return the damaged item. Their prices are always competitive and they stock a vast range of items that I would simply not be able to find locally.


New Zealand is bringing in the same law from sometime next year I think it is which means we will be screwed as well no doubt. The problem with that is that we have no decent music outlets in the country . When JB Hi Fi opened up here they were fantastic but now my music collection is bigger than there’s and the majority of stuff they stock is from artists that the streamers of this world are interested in which seems pointless to me and the only other alternative is the warehouse who from what I’ve seen they seem to be doing with music altogether . I understand bringing in these laws to protect local industry but what thought is given to the fact that local industry doesn’t supply you with what you want .


Interesting thread.
Is there not a business opportunity here for an entrepreneurial Aussie ?


Hi Paul, has my comment been memory-holed ?


A lot of items are already more than 10% more expensive here, we call it the Australia Tax.
When I go to the US, I buy 2 guitars, because it’s effectively buy one , get one free.
I ran an indie record store for nearly 30 years. I would (as an example) import CDs from Victory in the US. Landed cost to me AU$10. Warner Australia got the rights to Victory and told me I could no longer import. Warner wholesale cost to me $18+ distribution fees & freight.
Amazon Australia prices not only reflect this expense, the range is also quite dismal.
This is just Amazon being lazy or trying to prop up the local arm.


PS: By the way, Paul, GST is Goods & Services Tax, (not Goods & Sales).

Paul W

Your so correct, and you understand we cant buy goods from amazon


As noted by many others, the main reasons for using US Amazon are price and the fact that SO much more music “product” is available in the US, UK/Europe. With a total population of only a bit over 20 million, many distributors & record companies simply don’t bother bringing in, (or pressing locally), a title that they might only shift a couple of hundred copies of. Or, if they do bring it in, the retail price will be extortionate. The Super Deluxe version of the new Eno set, Music For Installations, carries a retail price here of close to $1000!!!!!!!!!!! (The standard version is overpriced, too, at anywhere from $140 – $160)

And it’s not just music: one of today’s papers quoted a big brand handbag, retailing in the US for something like US$68, and here it’s AU$360!

We officially have one of the lowest ranked internet service & infrastructures in the world, and now we are being driven back to the type of retail availability and pricing of the fifties and sixties. GET ME OUT OF HERE!


What a crock of s**t. I understand wanting to protect the brick and mortars. The only problem is they don’t want to stock the hard to find items. In the USA it’s hard to find items in these stores that are easily available at one of the Amazon global stores.
I feel sorry for the Aussies, and hopefully something can be worked out for them where the post can collect the fees. Must be nice to collect these “fees” while sitting on your ass and not doing a thing to earn profits.

Liam Bastick

And so ends buying anything. I will stop buying before I purchase from the Australian bricks and mortar shops that bellyache that they can no longer price gouge. Some of the mark-ups in Australia are ridiculous (300%+). And I do mean mark-ups: the difference between cost price for that shop (including shipping) and the sale price.

A sad day. So, Paul – I keep trying to meet up with you!! I want to organise a self-help group for those of us Down Under (I am trying to set up a shop / distribution centre). Any readers interested..? I’m a legit collector for 40 years and up for it.

Don Balfour

I would..
I buy a lot of music from all over the world..
Even Blu-ray and DVD are cheaper OS..
There must be a way around it…

Larry Davis

Wow, that REALLY sucks for Australian music fans, buyers and collectors!! I wonder if it’s the same in reverse… If there is something unavailable anywhere but Amazon.com.au?? If I will be hit by bullcrap?? I’m in the US btw…Liam, I feel your pain and love your idea…maybe I can be of help in going around the Aussie government and stupid GST??

Paul W

Im in i can only buy cds from one shop jbhifi i live in geelong


What exactly are you suggesting Liam?


I live in Australia and use Amazon UK and US a lot, so this will affect me. I think most of the blame lies with Amazon rather than the Australian government (and trust me, if I could blame the government for it, I would). The Amazon AU site has been a disaster for them (minuscule selection and prices no cheaper than in bricks and mortar shops), so this is their way of driving domestic sales. But it won’t work unless they vastly improve their service offer and reduce their prices. The main short term beneficiary from this will be JB Hi-fi and indie stores such as Red Eye. Right, now I’ve got to cancel my preorder of the PIL box set.

Phil D

I too live in Australia and have been using the Amazon US and UK sites for 10+ years. I will also now have my order for the PIL box set cancelled. Whilst our government hasn’t thought this through (GST should be collected at point of entry) Amazon is equally to blame for forcing us to the woefully inadequate and expensive local site.


Paul, I don’t suppose you know how this impacts on Amazon Prime customers?

I’d like to say I’m surprised with the news but sadly I’m not. I’ve bought most of my new music (especially vinyl) through Amazon as a) it’s not always available in Australia and b) it is usually far cheaper than buying locally. Sometimes I’ve seen albums that cost $90 AU in JB Hi Fi that I could pick up for $30 AU on Amazon. I guess I’ll be saving my money as I certainly won’t be paying over the odds at retailers like JB. Extremely disappointing news.

Auntie Sabrina

“3.3. Cancellation by you and refunds

You may cancel your Prime membership any time by visiting Your Account and adjusting your membership settings. You may also contact customer service. If neither you nor anyone authorised by you to use your account has taken advantage of any Prime benefits in the current membership period, we will refund this membership fee in full. Otherwise you may be eligible for a partial refund of this membership fee based on benefits usage by you or anyone authorised by you to use your account in your current membership period.”


Thanks Auntie.

Graham Gordon

As a Canadian I may be misunderstanding this but it’s perfectly reasonable for Amazon to expect the shipping company to collect the GST, that is the process in most countries isn’t it? Remember this is nothing to do with taxes from the source country, it is taxes in the receiving country. Goods arrive in the country and customs apply a charge on it which is collected from the recipient. In Canada this charge may include import fees for certain products but always includes the local sales tax (HST) and is collected by Canada Post or FedEx or UPS etc. In the US it is collected by USPS, FedEx etc. Not sure why the Australian carriers can’t be responsible for it.
Now the fly in my argument is Amazon recently started charging me an import fees deposit on my UK purchases which they process through an intermediary. Consequently I always now pay import duties on my order whereas previously I would have to pay on delivery, though it was hit or miss and sometimes things would be delivered without any additional fees due. Not sure why this model can’t be done with Australia, but my point is it shouldn’t need to as the process should be in place for the carrier to collect the duties.
For us foreign buyers of music, Amazon UK is generally pretty cheap as we don’t pay the VAT so everything is 20% cheaper before we start, Amazon’s flat rate shipping fees mean box sets in particular can be excellent value, so if you can no longer purchase I feel your pain but just don’t understand why the Australian government puts the onus on the seller.


Yes, as I recall, Canada Post recovers/collects Canadian GST at delivery. Something might perhaps be structurally different with AU Post (or whatever they’re called over there).

Paul Murphy

Makes one wonder what will happen to the UK with regard to those nice Amazon.de deals post-Brexit no customs union.


Serves “us” right! I’ve always said that Remainers should have campaigned on a mobile phone costs abroad platform. Maybe a no more music deals agenda could have tipped the balance too.


maybe it’ll be like the us customers – “…with that 20% vat reduction which is no longer mandatory, that turned out to be a real bargain”. also, amazon are very good at adding the import tax on in advance (and if it turns out to be less, they reimburse you – if it’s more they shoulder the cost) – so also should be nice and easy. although it’s going to cost us 20 billion to electronically deal with import tax etc.. which amazon & ebay etc… seem to be able to do for free.


There could be a way around if we all got together to help our Australian friends getting their hands on hard to find CDs. Each one of us pick a couple of “friends”, we buy the CD, and repackage it as a gift, and send it on, and the “friend” PayPal’s us the cost. That’s one way around it that the Aussie Government wouldn’t be able to stop. Just another example of a government trying to raise revenue without having to pay for that infrastructure themselves thereby maximizing profits; I’m sure Quebec is watching this very closely as they would love to be able to do the same.


You’re a kind soul, Mark. Both Amazon and our hapless government would do well to take a leaf out of your book.

Don’t know what I’m gonna do about my addiction to checking SDE several times daily… I’ve found one of the best communities dedicated to music on all the internet.