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Australia Businesses

Australians Urged To Spoof IP Addresses For Better Prices 206

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-savings? dept.
angry tapir writes "Choice, a prominent Australian consumer advocacy group, has urged Australians to obfuscate their IP address to avoid geo-blocking and use US forwarding addresses to beat high IT prices. Australia is currently in the middle of parliamentary inquiry into the country's disproportionately high prices for technology. Choice also suggested setting up US iTunes accounts and using surrogate US addresses for forwarding packages from American stores. Choice has noted previously that Australians pay 52 per cent more for digital music downloads on iTunes compared to US users."
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Australians Urged To Spoof IP Addresses For Better Prices

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:34AM (#41762155)

    This is how I ended up buying Battlefield 3 premium on Origin for a fraction of the cost (1500 INR (=22 EUR) instead of 50 EUR) by pretending to be from India.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:32AM (#41762333)

      And this is the real reason for DRM, not piracy.

      • by 2fuf (993808) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:55AM (#41762411)

        Yes, it's the reason for DRM and at the same time the reason for piracy ;-)

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          ...and what you get for cooperating with real criminals; the parasitic music industry who produce nothing of their own, add no value and exploit the musician till they tire of promoting them, then leave them hanging to survive on state fair performances and oldies concerts.
          Sorry to hear they didn't use any lube when gaping Australia.
          Lesson: quit paying for music and starve the bastards out of business or learn to like the cream filling you get.
          This isn't an intellectual property issue, this is about giving

          • This isn't an intellectual property issue, this is about giving the music business back to the musicians and destroying the music industry for good.

            The musicians don't want to be in control of getting their songs sold or booking performances. They want the "industry". The only one's that don't are because they are already part of the "industry" themselves so they protect it. Face it, music is full of people who would be homeless and broke despite their talent if someone else wasn't there to force feed them marketing, sales, multi-million dollar contracts.

            There is a relative handful that would thrive in the absence of said industry but most would

            • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday October 25, 2012 @10:01AM (#41764053) Homepage Journal

              The musicians don't want to be in control of getting their songs sold or booking performances. They want the "industry".

              Where do you get these "data"? How many musicians do you know personally? I know quite a few, and none of them would touch an RIAA contract with a ten foot pole, despite labels courting them.

              Face it, music is full of people who would be homeless and broke despite their talent

              It's also full of people who are multimillionaires despite their lack of talent. If you're good, you'll get gigs.

              The only one's that don't

              You should have paid more attention in class, son.

          • promoting them,

            Seems to me (or at least to the musicians) that THATS an added value.

            Im gonna go ahead and say if youre a musician, you have the power to make your own choices. You can argue all day that the RIAA is increasingly unnecessary and generally unsavory, and I wouldnt really argue with that; but the idea that somehow musicians are unable to decide for themselves whether to sign a contract? That seems like its a little insulting to the musician. Theyre not children, and Im quite certain they can decide for them

      • Indeed. It appears they are desperate to recreate the market segmentation stuff they learned about in their Intro to Economics class, because they think it will earn them more money. Nevermind you need to banjax a government's laws to make it happen, which gives rise to all sorts of horrible side-effects. If you account for all the bribes to pass those laws, I think it would be hard to argue that they're breaking even.

        • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @09:33AM (#41763715)

          Everyone keeps throwing the word "bribe" around in these kind of contexts. It would be nice, at least once in the history of slashdot, if someone could provide evidence of such a claim (especially since such evidence could go a long way to fixing the problem).

          • by green1 (322787) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @10:33AM (#41764439)

            ok, we'll call it "campaign contributions" instead. better? same deal though, money going to a specific politician with a specific expectation of that politician later.

            • I've mentioned this before, but the fact that companies contribute money to candidates who then go on to support their cause is not evidence of a bribe. It could be a bribe, and at least some of the time it is (when contributors get special meetings and in the cases where special interests were shown to have written proposed laws almost in their entirety), but it could just as easily be candidates who already have a public position on an issue that the company cares about (or it could simply be obvious whi

              • by nabsltd (1313397)

                it could just as easily be candidates who already have a public position on an issue that the company cares about (or it could simply be obvious which way the candidate would vote on a topic).

                Do you seriously think that candidates have "public positions" on "tax breaks for companies that employ between 250 and 500 persons and manufacture left-handed cables for use by venues that play live music"? Because these are the kind of laws that get passed as a result of "campaign contributions".

                Candidates only have "public positions" on either vague issues ("more jobs") or issues that never actually addressed (like budget deficits).

      • by Solandri (704621) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @09:16AM (#41763519)
        Not exactly. I do agree that region-coding DRM sucks and should probably be banned. But that's not what's going on here.

        The Australian dollar has gone up about 40% against the US dollar [google.com] in the last 5 years. If you compare game prices in AUD vs USD and subtract ~40%, you'll find the prices are nearly identical.

        International contracts involving two currencies are usually written to cover one year at a fixed exchange rate. Consequently there's a large lag between when a currency goes up, and when prices go down (time constant is on the order of a year). Especially if the seller is a large manufacturer (like Apple), while the buyer represents a small market (Australia). They may not have enough negotiating leverage to get next year's contract changed to better reflect the high rate of currency appreciation. (To be fair, the manufacturer may also be worried that a currency rapidly rising in a few years is a sign that it'll also rapidly fall in coming years. And they don't want to get stuck holding the bag if that happens.)

        Then you have the same thing going on at the retail level, where the retailer (who got ripped off by the manufacturer) now realizes the shoe's on the other foot, and they now have the upper hand in negotiating prices with the individual buyer. So you end up seeing retail prices which reflect the exchange rate 5 years ago, with half the excess going into the pockets of retailers, the other half going into the pockets of the overseas manufacturer.

        The suggestion to buy from overseas is a good one. Typically the currency exchange fees and overseas shipping fees will more than offset any advantage you gain from lower pricing from buying overseas. But when the disparity is this pronounced, its sufficient to exert downward pressure on prices. The last thing you want to be doing in this sort of situation is grudgingly pay the higher prices.
    • It's not just games (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mjwx (966435) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:44AM (#41762367)
      It's not just games that we buy from overseas for cheap. Phones, cameras, computers, car and bike parts. All because local distributors used to have us by the balls with pricing. Games were A$90, Movies and CD's A$30 a piece and considering the AUD has been above 1 USD for the last few years, pricing like this is just taking the piss.

      Well no more, I can order just about anything and get it shipped here for less. I order games from the UK for half the price of local games, DVD box sets that retail for A$75 I purchase for 11 pounds (AUD$17), My Canon Ixus 230 came from Hong Kong for A$100 less than here, I bought myself a laptop from the US, US$899 (A$840, a very favourable exch rate at the time) and got it shipped over tax free (personal imports under A$1000 are not subject to GST, note this is now A$900), Asus didn't even sell this model here but the previous model was A$1400. Even retailers are getting in on this very sweet action, JB HiFi and even Harvey Norman are selling "direct import" cameras and games and giving the middle finger to distributors.

      You think in this environment the distributors would have learned and instituted fair pricing... Well they haven't and as much as the bang on about it, no one in parliament will lift a finger to protect them. Suffer in your jocks you smarmy, self centred bastards. Now we just need to allow more used cars to be imported, an Australian Nissan 350z costs A$30-40K, an imported Japanese Nissan 350GT costs A$20-30K imported and they are practically the same car (the 350z was down-tuned compared to the 350GT) but you are only allowed to import cars on the SEVS list (Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles) which were never available for sale in Oz so I couldn't buy a cheap JDM Honda Integra Type R.

      This is how I ended up buying Battlefield 3 premium

      My sympathies sir, I too bought Battlefield 3 before realising how crap of a game it was.

      • by Canazza (1428553) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:12AM (#41762469)

        Make it a Green issue. All that importing half-way across the world must burn alot of Jet Fuel. I'm sure they'll sit up and listen when they figure out that over-inflated prices are destroying the Great Barrier Reef.

        • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:42AM (#41762619) Journal

          How much jet fuel does it take to ship a Technet subscription?

          Microsoft charges $599 in the US compared to $1048 in AU.

          http://i.imgur.com/qQNn4.png [imgur.com]

        • by fatphil (181876) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @08:48AM (#41763143) Homepage
          If only someone would take all the massless parts of the product - the 0 and 1 bits, and transport them at next-to-no cost to Australia. Imagine the fossil fuels saved by doing that - these guys would be regarded as heroes. Shame about all the prison time they'd be forced to serve at the hands of the MAFIAA.
          • by Skal Tura (595728)

            Someone mod parent up and quick!

            Exactly what is going on globally everywhere.
            Just couple days back here in Finland i read news that a online TV broadcasting firm is being sued for copyright violations. What they did was rebroadcast the channels over internet, allow recording etc. basicly a TiVO/DVR via the net. For each customer there was even a receiver attached to stay on legal side.

            They were sued by all major finnish tv channels, even our BBC counterpart which is funded by actual taxes starting 1st of Ja

        • by 1u3hr (530656)

          Make it a Green issue. All that importing half-way across the world must burn alot of Jet Fuel

          It's imported in either case, so no difference. But less ground transport (petrol) as it goes direct to the consumer rather than via a couple of middlemen.

          • by green1 (322787)

            It's imported in either case, so no difference.

            You would think, but in fact it's not likely. the reason is that when shipping across the planet it is much more efficient to ship a pallet load of CDs (or more likely a shipping container full of pallets of CDs) then it is to ship the same quantity individually wrapped and addressed. not to mention the pallet load will likely ship by sea with thousands of other pallets whereas the individual ones will likely ship by air which is a much less efficient method of transport.

            All of this completely ignores the f

            • by timeOday (582209)

              when shipping across the planet it is much more efficient to ship a pallet load of CDs (or more likely a shipping container full of pallets of CDs) then it is to ship the same quantity individually wrapped and addressed.

              Not so much as in the past. It amazes me that I can buy trivial things on ebay from Hong Kong to my home in the southwest US for as little as $3.50 including shipping. It seems to me that all the routers from there to here (and I mean, physically routing packages), must be highly automa

      • by arisvega (1414195) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:37AM (#41762597)

        To me the actual topic here is: "Australia is currently in the middle of parliamentary inquiry into the country's disproportionately high prices for technology." (emphasis mine)

        But why is that? Was this situation 'naturally selected' because of a compination of Oceania's geographical placement and some opportunistic merchants, because of something more sinister, or what? Any insights?

        • by bloodhawk (813939)
          It seems more a case of every companies excuse is they charge what everyone else charges, some try and argue it is the cost of wages here, but Australian online retailers do the same exhorbitant rates. Then you have a few that claim. "Oh we set our prices when the Aussie dollar was much lower and have not gotten around to re-evaluating the prices yet but we will get to it in due time"
        • by mjwx (966435)

          To me the actual topic here is: "Australia is currently in the middle of parliamentary inquiry into the country's disproportionately high prices for technology." (emphasis mine)

          But why is that? Was this situation 'naturally selected' because of a compination of Oceania's geographical placement and some opportunistic merchants, because of something more sinister, or what? Any insights?

          The why is simple, they could get away with it.

          The how is more mundane. in the 90's Australia had a exchange rate with the USD of 1:0.5 AUD to USD. So prices were set to a bit above double what they were in the US. However in the early 00's this began to change, by the second half of the decade the AUD had passed 80 US cents but prices remained high, offset by rising wages in Australia because distributors did not change prices with the changing exchange rate. Many distributors did not change prices simp

        • But why is that? Was this situation 'naturally selected' because of a compination of Oceania's geographical placement and some opportunistic merchants, because of something more sinister, or what? Any insights?

          It's because we have to translate the manuals into Australian.

          On the other hand, it could be worse - look what we do with the Canadians, eh?

        • I feel sorry for the Aussies, true, they're isolated so shipping from the US is a cost, but I was there the other week and a $1000(US) Apple cinema display costs $1600 there (the A$ and US$ are about parity right now). That's not shipping. That's ripping off.

      • Food and daily basics are cheaper in developing countries but computers and electronics I never found to be any cheaper. At times they were more expensive to be honest.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Food and daily basics are cheaper in developing countries but computers and electronics I never found to be any cheaper. At times they were more expensive to be honest.

          Food isn't really that much cheaper in developing countries. The price difference you notice is the cost of labour. In Australia minimum wage is about A$15 an hour, for a casual employee you're looking at A$18+ an hour. A$22 for wait or kitchen staff is not unheard of in Perth.

          In Thailand, they work for about $15-20 a day in expensive restaurants. Across the whole supply chain this adds up to a lot.

          computers and electronics I never found to be any cheaper. At times they were more expensive to be honest.

          Computers... maybe for nations that consider them luxury items and tax them accordingly (Cambodia IIRC). Bu

          • by mjwx (966435)

            Food isn't really that much cheaper in developing countries.

            I forgot to add, developing nations generally use the cuts of meat we throw out or put into dog food. Getting quality cuts of steak can be difficult at times... lets not even get into how hard it is to find a decent cheese board in Thailand.

          • by timeOday (582209)
            I dunno. The electronics markets with super-low prices used to be legend here in the US. But I think that gradient was dissipated through the vast expansion of asian imports in the 00's. When I stopped by the Guang Hua Digital Plaza in Taiwan, really, it felt a lot like ebay. Or there is Harbor Freight, which is an unabashed Chinese tool shop right in your neighborhood, with low-to-moderate quality stuff for very low prices.
        • by green1 (322787)

          Depends where you compare to. often the "developing countries" aren't the place with the cheap electronics. But I can definitely tell you that the US has much cheaper electronics than most of the rest of the developed world. I live in Canada, we share a very long border with the US so it's not exactly far away, and yet our prices are generally close to 50% higher than the US. Most US companies though refuse to ship to Canadian addresses, and their Canadian divisions carry a much smaller selection (I'm looki

      • by grcumb (781340) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @08:39AM (#41763059) Homepage Journal

        You think in this environment the distributors would have learned and instituted fair pricing... Well they haven't and as much as the bang on about it, no one in parliament will lift a finger to protect them.

        It's especially galling to see that prices for identical hardware are lower in New Zealand, which has only a small fraction of Australia's population and which is actually farther from the most common markets.

        I live in a country (very) roughly equidistant from the two, and travel fairly regularly to both. Last year, I was shopping for an Android phone and discovered that the number on the sticker was the same in both countries. Given that NZD 1 is worth about AUD 0.79, that's a bit of a difference. Just to add insult to injury, the prices were from the very same tech store chain!

        There is no logical reason that I can find to justify hardware prices in Australia.

      • by jonwil (467024)

        I think one of the best examples I have seen in terms of demonstrating how much us Aussies get ripped off is the stories of people buying car tires (and wheels) from US sites like tirerack.com. When you can buy a set of 4 large heavy car tires or wheels (or both), pay the huge shipping costs to get them to Australia, pay the GST (if its more than whatever amount is required for GST to be charged) AND pay someone to put the new tires/wheels onto the car, do wheel alignments and balances etc for less than it

      • by Chatsubo (807023) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @10:31AM (#41764417)

        Now we just need to allow more used cars to be imported....

        Oh my, South Africans _love_ to complain about how cars manufactured in SA (esp. Toyota) can possibly sell for less in Aus. than in SA. If you think you get a bad deal on cars, imagine how we feel. We have huge taxes on imported cars (a US$30k car gets ~70% import duty) to prevent outside competition with domestic manufacturers, so they charge what they want... because imported (by distributors) brands are even more expensive.

        The companies lining their pockets are gonna keep it that way.

  • Did you hear that? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:35AM (#41762157)

    That's the sound of the USTR laughing his way to the bank.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_discrimination

    It's just another hilarious way intellectual property law is used to make money through abusing international borders.

  • by madsdyd (228464) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:42AM (#41762175)

    I live in Denmark, and recently spent 30 minutes to try and buy an english e-book online.

    Found it at 3 different retailers (US, UK, Australia), that refused to sell it to me (add it to the basket), because of my location.

    Then found it at 2 additional retailers, that allowed me to add it to a basket, then accepted my credit-card information, before refusing to actually sell it to me.

    Then I got sort of mad and decided to break a 15 year old principle on not pirating stuff. Went to google, and had the ebook literally 30 seconds later! 10 seconds later on my device, and I could start reading.

    What on earth are they thinking!

    Oh, and I then later wrote the agent for the writer in question here in Denmark, and in the UK to offer payment. I have not heard a word from the UK agent, and the Danish one just confirmed that they do not sell the english language version of that writer in Denmark as an ebook.

    Fools, really. And, they are probably, as I write this, banging on the door to the parliament, requiering stricter copyright laws.

    Fools.

    • by Chatsubo (807023) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:02AM (#41762235)

      Stuff like this is especially maddening when they require you to ship digital products.

      I had an experience recently where I got a gift voucher for Amazon. I went there knowing a game I wanted would be about the value of the voucher. To my delight I found a digital-only version for the right price.

      "Sweet, I'll be playing this puppy in an hour or so!". No beans. Digital copy not available in my country.

      WHAT?! Why?! I can go down the road and buy this title legitimately in my country for the same price!

      Then I was going: OK, I'll buy the frikkin physical thing then. Only to find shipping the damn disc to my country was going to cost the entire price of the game. So to use my voucher I was going to have to pay the entire price of the voucher for shipping. Something I could, once again, just go do at my corner store.

      Finally I contacted a US-based friend and just shipped the disc to him for no shipping charge, and had him email me the serial. Then I found a digital copy of the data myself.

      Hint: Never give foreigners vouchers for online retailers. It's a burden to the recipient.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:17AM (#41762281)

      I live in Denmark, and recently spent 30 minutes to try and buy an english e-book online.

      Found it at 3 different retailers (US, UK, Australia), that refused to sell it to me (add it to the basket), because of my location.

      IANAL but the UK site is probably breaking the law due to the free movement of goods and services within the EU. [wikipedia.org]

      • IANAL but the UK site is probably breaking the law due to the free movement of goods and services within the EU.

        IANALE, but isn't that only about guaranteeing the free movement of goods at a government level, as opposed to making it mandatory? Should a private company be forced to deliver a sofa to Svalbard even if it's prohibitively complicated and expensive to do so?

        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          IANALE, but isn't that only about guaranteeing the free movement of goods at a government level, as opposed to making it mandatory? Should a private company be forced to deliver a sofa to Svalbard even if it's prohibitively complicated and expensive to do so?

          You mean if the customer is willing to pay for the prohibitively complicated and expensive delivery?

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@woCURIErld3.net minus physicist> on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:30AM (#41762555) Homepage

        This issue is currently being tested in the European courts. Ebooks, digital music, satellite TV broadcasts and the like are typically supplied by the content provided with an exclusive license for a certain part of the world. The retailer is not allowed to sell outside that area by the license agreement. So far the courts have ruled this to be illegal under current rules.

        For example there is a woman in the UK buying English league football matches from a satellite TV provider in Europe for a fraction of the price it would cost from Sky in the UK. So far the courts have agreed that she is within her right to do that, even though Sky are supposed to have an exclusive license to show the games in the UK.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:27AM (#41762319) Homepage

      Welcome to what happens when copyright get's out of control. Thank the United States Congress for that.

    • by jonfr (888673) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:33AM (#41762341) Homepage

      I have also seen this. But I live in Denmark. Amazon refuses to sell e-books to Denmark from UK. Therefor breaking EU law in this regards (single market). Why this is the case I do not know. But I am sure this is illegal to start with. Regardless who is selling the digital material. This does not only apply to e-books. As Amazon for instances refuses to sell mp3 files to Denmark as well.

      I am also a publisher of e-books. I do not understand this type of stupid. As I for instance I want to sell my e-books everywhere. The sad thing is that I might not have a lot to say about it in the end.

      • Therefor breaking EU law in this regards (single market).

        I thought the single market was about abolishing government-level barriers to trade. Is there a part of the law that says a private company must ship to Iceland if it ships to France?

      • by fatphil (181876)
        > Therefor breaking EU law in this regards (single market)

        Precisely which law do you think is being broken?

        A pizza delivery place in Bristol won't deliver to Saltaire. That's not breaking the law, and that's in the same freaking country. In no way does EU law demand that vendors perform trade with people in all locations.

        The EU common market laws are mostly aimed at the member states themselves to not prevent the businesses from trading how they want, enabling the businesses and the trades, rather than p
    • by alexgieg (948359)

      Then I got sort of mad and decided to break a 15 year old principle on not pirating stuff. Went to google, and had the ebook literally 30 seconds later! 10 seconds later on my device, and I could start reading.

      Well, I don't have that specific principle as, for me, copyright itself is immoral. On the other hand, I believe in paying for actual services, including that of convenience, and also in paying authors for works I like (as an entirely voluntary act of appreciation for the author, not because it'd in some way be "morally correct" to do so). So, while I mostly pay for digital goods, and gladly so, I have absolutely no qualms about going the pirate route the very instant "they" make it difficult. If at the ver

    • For the UK company what was the argument for not shipping to you? Depending on what the reason was, you may want to check with your local MEP.

  • by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @05:46AM (#41762189)

    Regional differences in pricing stem from pre-globalisation economics. With no overlap between regional markets, prices would be set on a per-market basis and never the twain did meet. In a post-globalisation Internet-levelled playing field, regional price differences make no little sense for purely-digital products, except where national sales-related taxes differ. The only reason to maintain these regional price variations to artificially inflate profit margins at the expense of the consumer.

    In theory, the libertarian free-marker doctrine should cause this price difference to level out fairly quickly once the market starts to take advantage of (and offense to) these cross-border variations. Let's see if that theory works in practice...

    Anyone want to bet on legislation increasing to prevent cross-region sales instead?

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      A large part of the problem is copyright and patents. You actually need to get permission to sell things in different countries even though you might have it already for your country. This is largely because the laws are different in the other countries and the copyright or patent owners has to decide if they will allow their works to be subject to them or not and whether or not they want the hassle of enforcing the rights in the foreign country. Some foreign legal system will require the rights holder to b

  • is spending time in discussing iTunes and Amazon prices?
    That's a nice country, indeed!
    • by mjwx (966435)

      is spending time in discussing iTunes and Amazon prices?
      That's a nice country, indeed!

      If you believe /. the only thing Parliament wants to do is steal "mah freedomz(TM)" and "censor teh internetz" (both of which didn't come to pass BTW, I'm a free Australian free with uncensored intertubes). The majority of Parliamentary members are not pushing for this, in fact most of the Labor party rebelled over the idea of internet censorship. Things like price disparity and other issues that matter to the average Australian come up quite often in between petty bickering and snide jibes between Liberal

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:44AM (#41762371)

    Books in Canada are marked with two prices; one for a sale in Canada and one for a sale in the US. Despite the fact that the Canadian dollar is worth about the same (sometimes more sometimes less depending on the day) as a US dollar, the cost difference is usually significant. There's no real reason for it. The difference is a hangover from when the difference between the two currencies was large. Retailers see this as a profit boost.

    Many other products are generally more expensive in Canada vs the US - cars in particular. Border towns in Canada see a huge flux of people cross-border shopping as a result.

    Now and then someone complains, the retailers whine about OH NOES, IT'S DIFFERENT IN CANADA - LESS PEOPLE - SHOULD COST MORE. Yeah - always fun comparing the huge price discrepancies between Amazon.ca and Amazon.com for the same product.

    AC

    • by green1 (322787)

      Price difference is only half the problem, ever try to buy anything from Amazon in Canada? there's nothing on the Canadian site, they stock a fraction of the product and the American site refuses to ship to Canada.

      It's also especially interesting when you look at digital files. a friend of mine recently bought an e-book reader, he suddenly found out that ebooks are priced just as their physical counterparts, significantly higher in Canada, and apparently it's not just IP based either, it looks at where your

    • by Pope (17780)

      Wages are higher in Canada. Taxes are higher in Canada. Prices for just about everything are higher in Canada. No idea why a company would ever want to sell something in Canada with a higher price.

  • by Spikeles (972972) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:48AM (#41762387)

    There was a report last year from the Productivity Commission which is "the Australian Government's principal review and advisory body on microeconomic policy and regulation. It is an independent statutory authority in the Treasury Portfolio and responds to references from the Treasurer. "

    This specific report is for the Retail industry, but there is a very good chapter on online and price differences, which includes some parts talking about things like Apple's Price Discrimination. For those interested, the report can be found here Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry [pc.gov.au]. The price differences part is Chapter 6. [pc.gov.au]

    I'll quote some relevant parts:

    Box 6.4 - Apple’s international price discrimination
    Costs associated with the distribution of Australian specific content and marketing could mean that higher fixed costs apply to the Australian subsidiary. But given the costs associated with the distribution of music and other media are only likely to be a relatively small share of total costs, this does not fully explain or justify the price differential.

    The Commission considers that Australian consumers will buy goods where they feel they get the best deal regardless of retail format and that retailers that do not, or are unable to, respond effectively to competitive pressures will face serious challenges.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Willfully misrepresenting material facts in order to obtain a financial benefit to which one would not otherwise be entitled is a fraud crime.

  • by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:00AM (#41762427)
    Here we have the same problem, but in our case it affects anything and everything that comes from overseas. I have to pay three times what you Americans pay for an SSD, ridiculous is not it?

    Incidentally, interesting question ... Why businesses can freely look around the globe a place to produce things, while we consumers are forced to buy our things in a very restricted manner (You can even import, but only if you pay double or even triple) and for much more than we should? Capitalism and free market for large companies, Dictatorship for consumers?
    • Incidentally, interesting question ... Why businesses can freely look around the globe a place to produce things, while we consumers are forced to buy our things in a very restricted manne.

      Why? Well, you won't like the answer: The common man is akin to chattel that the ruling classes farm. You have less buying power and control over your own markets because none of the workers get compensated fairly for the true value they provide to those that they work for. Combine with this the fact that it is written into the legal DNA of a Corporate entity at inception that they will always seek profit by any means necessary, or face death by shareholder: You get Lower wages and Higher Prices.

      This i

  • So we get iTunes downloads cheaper, you have bank accounts that actually pay meaningful interest rates. Maybe we can work out a trade?
    • by erroneus (253617)

      Yes Clarice... quid pro quo... you offer me and I return to you.

      Send me your money and I'll keep it in my bank account for you... :) Sounds like a wonderful idea. Want my paypal email account?

    • by jkflying (2190798)

      Bank accounts with high interest rates which hold currencies with high inflation. Not so useful as you'd imagine.

      • Bank accounts with high interest rates which hold currencies with high inflation. Not so useful as you'd imagine.

        That's a matter of perspective. If you compare the Australian Dollar to the US Dollar, you'll see that with the exception of a big dip in 2009, the two have kept pretty steady exchange rates [yahoo.com]. I have seen Australian savings accounts paying 8%, which is well above the annual fluctuation of the two currencies against each other.

      • Uh, you taken a look at the Australian inflation rate? Looks pretty much the same as the US inflation rate to me ...

        The difference is that Australia has higher growth and lower unemployment, and an economy that's way healthier. The GFC didn't hit us, remember? Hence the interest rate differences ...

  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:03AM (#41762439) Journal

    Steam does this - although generally not Valve who are good about this but more big big publishers who are sharing the service with Valve. Luckily with US contacts, I can be 'gifted' games at US prices.

    It's disgusting and it's bullshit, if you're willing to sell a game, or a song or a book or fuck even a physical product to an American for X price and I produce the same amount of money for you and I take care of the shipping (or downloading the fucking bits) then frankly, fuck you for trying to charge me more.

    This is much worse for console using folk on PSN and the 360, sure I have a US PSN account but I don't WANT to have to buy PSN 'money' in US format from gift cards just to get games at reasonable prices and then be left with 3$ or 13$ or whatever in 'change' on my account.
    Honestly this bullshit just stops me participating entirely.

    About the only reasonable thing of late is PC parts in Australia, due to the proximity to Asia and the AU$ being strong so long (and of course PC parts, high turnover) for the most part, CPU's, RAM, HDD's and so on are very very close to the US. Mind you if you are picky and want something high end or obscure like high end SAS controllers and stuff like that, sorry buddy, 4x the price.

    So as I started with,... they wonder why we steal shit.... sigh

  • Very important (Score:5, Informative)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@@@davidgerard...co...uk> on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:10AM (#41762461) Homepage

    Choice is really highly respected in Australia. This makes this an extremely mainstream issue, not just of geek interest.

  • I started bypassing the GEO-Blocking from Australia 6 months ago. previously I was paying $125 a month for foxtel (Australian pay TV). I now stream Netflix, Vudu and Hulu giving me access to a movie and TV library many times the size for a fraction of the cost. I have no objection to paying for my content, I do object to the extortionate rates they try and charge us here though. I order my games internationally as well as camera gear and many other items retailers here believe we should pay 100% markup for
  • Actually, this is still capitalism... or the free market or whatever you like. #1 The sellers do whatever the market will bear. #2 The buyers do not want to bear it while they have alternatives. So what's the end-game here? Well? I suppose it depends on whether or not the government was getting tax revenue from these higher prices. If they were, then you can bet there will be some sort of legislation against the use of proxies or similar methods to avoid price fixing scams... or "tax avoidance."

    But if

    • by green1 (322787)

      You're right in one part, it's capitalism all right, best laws money can buy.
      If you take out the government interference in the market (patents, copyrights, and all the protectionist laws that go along with them) you suddenly find that the market bears a lot less abuse.

  • It seems like there is some international consensus emerging that it is a bad idea to tell the internet your presonal details http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20082493 [bbc.co.uk]
  • I purchased with my address spoofed as being in Russia and got a game from Steam for $17 AUD. In Australia, the game is $99 AUD.

    Same game, same date, etc. It really pisses us off, down here...

    It's only the purchase point that needed the IP in Russia, too. From then on, I could resume non spoofing to download it and play it. My address remained as being in Australia the whole time, too.
  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @10:05AM (#41764087)
    Of course technology costs more down in Oz. it has to be manufactured to handle the fact that electrons spin widdershins down there.

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