South West Sydney
Retailers attack on online shopping is driven by self-interest, Choice
Consumer rights know them
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Today's statements from Choice.
"Big stores need to lift game on prices, service & range CHOICE says the advertising campaign launched today by a group of retailers attacking the tax treatment of online overseas sales is an alarmist red herring driven by the self interest of some of the biggest players.
The consumer watchdog says the larger chains are seeking to hijack the debate on the future of Australian retail by crying poor over the GST-free threshold on low value imports and creating a scare campaign over retail jobs.
It says while the federal government’s plan for an independent productivity commission inquiry into the retail sector is the best way forward especially to protect the interests of smaller retailers in the debate.
“The big chains should recognise that it's their high prices, limited range and poor customer service that increasingly encourages people to use the internet,” says CHOICE’s Christopher Zinn.
“Consumers are simply chasing the best deal and the best service and often these days that is found online.”
For example, you can buy a digital camera online from Myer for $557 (including GST and delivery in ‘5-15 working days’). The same camera can be purchased though an Australian online retailer for $433.50 (including GST and delivery) – a saving of $123.50 or 22 per cent.
“This is not about GST. Major stores are not being forced by anyone to charge these high prices. This debate is about quality of service, competitive pricing and the inability of some retailers to understand the future of internet shopping.”
CHOICE says it's a distraction to suggest dumping the GST threshold will make everything right again in the shopping malls. The answer is for retailers in Australia to raise their game and to give consumers a fair go instead of giving them a hard time for seeking the best deals.
"Our message to consumers is don’t be fooled by this expensive ad campaign," says Zinn. "Compare the price of products from shop front retailers with those online – you will be surprised how much money you can save, even without going overseas."
*** *Purchasing the same camera (Canon IXUS 1000 HS) from Hong Kong through a company with Australia-based sales staff will cost you $346 (including delivery by FedEx in 1-3 days), a saving of $211 or 38% off the Myer price."
What do you think of big retailers like Harvey Norman attacking the GST threshold on on-line goods under $1000. Is the GST threshold really hurting small businesses or is this a scare campaign by the big retailers?