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Australians Urged To Spoof IP Addresses For Better Prices 206

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 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2012 @06:04AM (#41762243)

    In Europe, you could buy Japanese DVDs as they were in the same zone and I was happy. Now that Japan has stopped being in the same zone as Europe for Bluray, I will never buy a Bluray player. There is no way to buy and watch Japanese movies legally anymore.

  • 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]

  • 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 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 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?
  • 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 AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@nOspAm.world3.net> on Thursday October 25, 2012 @07:30AM (#41762555) Homepage Journal

    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 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 darrenm ( 1632751 ) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @08:14AM (#41762789)

    This is another great example. Here are cars being built in Canada and being sold for much less after being shipped to the US than they can be bought for in the same city they are built in.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/06/12/ottawa-car-price-disparity-border-shopping.html [www.cbc.ca]

    Using Canadian dollars for Canada and US in USA, but currency has been around par for the last couple of years.

    As an example:
    Honda builds the Acura MDX in Alliston, Ontario Canada, but to buy one from the dealer in that town costs $9,660 more (MSRP) than going to Honolulu, Hawaii USA to purchase one.

    Honda says that there are different market conditions and the costs of marketing in two official languages.

    Or how about Toyota that also builds Corollas in Ontario. But they charge a Freight and PDI of $1,465 in Canada versus $760 in the US.

  • 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.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"