eBay to geo-block Australia?

Transformers News: eBay to geo-block Australia?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 5:16AM CDT

Category: Store News
Posted by: Burn   Views: 14,901

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In what could be a major problem to Australian collectors, online powerhouse eBay has threatened to geo-block Australians from using their worldwide platform.

The Australian Government is set to introduce new laws from July 1 (the new financial year in Australia) that would see a Goods & Services Tax (GST) imposed on all imports. (Currently imports under $1,000 do not attract any GST.)

What is confusing about the situation is that under Australian laws, a business with an annual turnover of $75,000 MUST register for GST. But, as Jooman Park, eBay’s vice president and managing director for Australia and New Zealand points out, "This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the marketplace: eBay is not a seller, eBay does not own the goods, does not handle payments and it does not distribute anything. eBay is a third-party online marketplace that simply connects buyers and sellers."

This in itself creates a challenge. How does the Australian Government plan to enforce this? While it's one thing to bring legal pressure to big companies like Amazon, how do they plan to force smaller online retailers like BigBadToyStore to register and collect taxes for them?

Jooman Park proposed a much simpler solution. "A simpler alternative for an island nation is to work with the logistics companies. All parcels arrive at a small number of Customs points, via a small number of international logistics companies, one of which is government-owned.

These companies can require buyers to declare whether a good is new and to nominate a value of the good as part of the pricing of parcel delivery to Australia. This system does not require parcels to be stopped, other than for routine auditing.

It captures all goods, regardless of whether they were purchased via a platform or from a dot.com. It is practical and enforceable, raises genuine revenue and is fair. Unlike other proposals, this does level the playing field."


The reason the Australian Government wants to change the law, aside from revenue raising, has been because of pressure from major retailers such as Harvey Norman. Gerry Harvey, Executive Chairman of Harvey Norman, has been a strong proponent of taxing online sales as he believes it will help level the playing field between online businesses and brick-and-mortar stores.

From a "services" perspective, the legislation will no doubt hope to generate more income from big companies such as Google, Facebook, Adobe, Microsoft etc.

It should be noted that eBay has for a number of years, had a working history with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), sharing data of the sales of sellers with sales of over $10K-$20k a year with the ATO for their data-matching program.

Geo-blocking of course, is nothing new to Australians with many streaming services geo-blocking Australian residents. This has led many Australian residents to embrace Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) as a way around those geo-blocks, something they may have to do if they wish to shop internationally on eBay. (Side note: The Australian Government has considered banning VPNs in an effort to curb internet piracy despite many businesses using VPNs legitimately.)

With July 1 not too far away, the legislation itself isn't even finalised. The Australian Government however are determined to implement this legislation which will leave many online sellers scrambling to some how implement required changes before July 1.

Is this a good move by the Australian Government? As an Australian, will this affect you at all? Let us know on the Seibertron.com forums!
Credit(s): news.com.au
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Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875142)
Posted by ausbot on April 18th, 2017 @ 5:35am CDT
Dammit, Australia Sucks for collectors if this happens it will put a huge hit to my collecting.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875143)
Posted by Qwan on April 18th, 2017 @ 5:57am CDT
Immediate thoughts in chronological order:

    - wut

    - Uh eBay man, you're about two weeks late for April Fools

    - Alright guess I better build my collection REAL QUICK then.[/list:u]

    Geez, I can't even imagine what kind of effect this is going to end up having! Honestly I'm probably just gonna ignore it for now because wow, being unable to access eBay at all because I'm in Australia? I can barely even comprehend that idea.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875144)
Posted by BumbleDouche on April 18th, 2017 @ 5:59am CDT
FFS just when you think it couldn't possibly suck any worse living here they invent some new way to screw us!

Just RECENTLY, I can think of restrictions on show availability on Netflix, damn-near impossibility of legally importing MP-Megatron, freaking PRINGLES (of all things!) being made at some crap-tastic factory in Malaysia or something instead of the USA, so they're now smaller, more expensive and taste awful... No wonder people resort to illegal importation of goods, the Government wants a piece of everything!

And those bricks-and-mortar stores like Harvey Norman (which I refer to as "Hardly Normal" for its outrageous prices) should think more about what they're doing wrong by charging so much rather than "leveling the playing field" by making it impossible for anyone to sell outside of their corrupt standards.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875145)
Posted by BumbleDouche on April 18th, 2017 @ 6:08am CDT
Also - Australians don't shop via eBay just to avoid huge markups from criminals like the operator of Harvey Norman...

For Masterpiece Transformers and a lot of other products, there's simply *NO OTHER WAY* to purchase these goods in Australia.

If they then go on to introduce complicated paperwork & tax nonsense, smaller retailers like BBTS or Robot Kingdom will probably just draw a line through Australia and not bother with us at all, eliminating the *last* of our options!
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875146)
Posted by Burn on April 18th, 2017 @ 6:31am CDT
Qwan wrote:Geez, I can't even imagine what kind of effect this is going to end up having! Honestly I'm probably just gonna ignore it for now because wow, being unable to access eBay at all because I'm in Australia? I can barely even comprehend that idea.

We'll still have access to ebay.com.au, we just won't be able to access international sellers.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875147)
Posted by Black Hat on April 18th, 2017 @ 6:41am CDT
I could go on a big political soapboxy rant about how this kind of government meddling in private business does no good at all and only breeds discontentment amongst the people, but I'm not going to. Nevertheless this is really, really stupid and I hope it gets overturned.

If it does go ahead: Boycott eBay. Use alternative sources (I recommend Mandarake). Do what you can to tell the company/the gubmint "No, this is not acceptable and I will take my business elsewhere if you do this".
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875149)
Posted by Qwan on April 18th, 2017 @ 6:48am CDT
Burn wrote:
Qwan wrote:Geez, I can't even imagine what kind of effect this is going to end up having! Honestly I'm probably just gonna ignore it for now because wow, being unable to access eBay at all because I'm in Australia? I can barely even comprehend that idea.

We'll still have access to ebay.com.au, we just won't be able to access international sellers.

Ah, well that's... better. Phew. Still though, the fact that most Transformers-related searches tend to turn up approximately 2-10 (often barely-related) items from Australian sellers before moving on to international - that's worrying to say the least if those results are going to be all we get.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875150)
Posted by Burn on April 18th, 2017 @ 6:56am CDT
Qwan wrote:
Burn wrote:
Qwan wrote:Geez, I can't even imagine what kind of effect this is going to end up having! Honestly I'm probably just gonna ignore it for now because wow, being unable to access eBay at all because I'm in Australia? I can barely even comprehend that idea.

We'll still have access to ebay.com.au, we just won't be able to access international sellers.

Ah, well that's... better. Phew. Still though, the fact that most Transformers-related searches tend to turn up approximately 2-10 (often barely-related) items from Australian sellers before moving on to international - that's worrying to say the least if those results are going to be all we get.

Look at the broader picture. Yeah it affects us collectors, but through work we source parts from AliExpress.

eBay should have phrased things a different way, they won't be implementing this block to protect themselves, they're doing it to protect sellers. What's stopping AliExpress and other online market places from adopting a similar stance?

Once again, another poorly conceived piece of legislation because the Government (and Opposition) simply do not understand technology and are desperate to reign it in and control it.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875152)
Posted by Qwan on April 18th, 2017 @ 7:08am CDT
Burn wrote:
Qwan wrote:
Burn wrote:
Qwan wrote:Geez, I can't even imagine what kind of effect this is going to end up having! Honestly I'm probably just gonna ignore it for now because wow, being unable to access eBay at all because I'm in Australia? I can barely even comprehend that idea.

We'll still have access to ebay.com.au, we just won't be able to access international sellers.

Ah, well that's... better. Phew. Still though, the fact that most Transformers-related searches tend to turn up approximately 2-10 (often barely-related) items from Australian sellers before moving on to international - that's worrying to say the least if those results are going to be all we get.

Look at the broader picture. Yeah it affects us collectors, but through work we source parts from AliExpress.

eBay should have phrased things a different way, they won't be implementing this block to protect themselves, they're doing it to protect sellers. What's stopping AliExpress and other online market places from adopting a similar stance?

Once again, another poorly conceived piece of legislation because the Government (and Opposition) simply do not understand technology and are desperate to reign it in and control it.

Eesh, yeah, I didn't even think of that. I guess it's easier to get fired up about things on the small scale, but when you put it like that it makes this whole thing less personally frustrating and more... I guess I'm just gonna keep using the word "worrying" but I mean it more now.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875164)
Posted by fenrir72 on April 18th, 2017 @ 8:02am CDT
Iz the socialist government short of cash? major bummer!
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875187)
Posted by william-james88 on April 18th, 2017 @ 9:30am CDT
The solution proposed below...

[quote]Jooman Park proposed a much simpler solution. "A simpler alternative for an island nation is to work with the logistics companies. All parcels arrive at a small number of Customs points, via a small number of international logistics companies, one of which is government-owned.

These companies can require buyers to declare whether a good is new and to nominate a value of the good as part of the pricing of parcel delivery to Australia. This system does not require parcels to be stopped, other than for routine auditing.

It captures all goods, regardless of whether they were purchased via a platform or from a dot.com. It is practical and enforceable, raises genuine revenue and is fair. Unlike other proposals, this does level the playing field."[/quote]

... is what Canada has been doing for as long as I remember. Every item gets a GST, unless its declared as a gift. I thought Australia was already like that, but it turns out you guys have been able to live tax free as long as its under $1000? Wow, thats cool, I didnt know.

Pretty sure the guy's idea came from already established mailing procedures like Canada since it sounds the same.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875229)
Posted by Kyleor on April 18th, 2017 @ 11:30am CDT
There's always a loophole or workaround, you just have to find it.

For instance, I've bought from sellers on ebay that are 'in the US' however they ship the item from China.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875238)
Posted by Seibertron on April 18th, 2017 @ 12:36pm CDT
This is interesting. Australian customers are one of my largest source of international customers for the Seibertron.com eBay store. It's not a lot in the big scheme of things, but it is apparently something for me to consider.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875253)
Posted by SillyMcGilly on April 18th, 2017 @ 1:22pm CDT
After I read this I was gonna comment "poor Burn!", but then realized the post is written by Burn. :-P

Not gonna say this IS bad since this is really the first time I've heard of this and need to investigate it more, but on the surface I can't help but feel bad for all ye Aussies with this after you all already had some streaming sites and services geo-block your country. :( Is there a country in the world that doesn't suck in some huge way?
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875255)
Posted by william-james88 on April 18th, 2017 @ 1:26pm CDT
SillySpringer wrote: Is there a country in the world that doesn't suck in some huge way?

The US... assuming you are a white male.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875258)
Posted by EunuchRon on April 18th, 2017 @ 1:34pm CDT
william-james88 wrote:
SillySpringer wrote: Is there a country in the world that doesn't suck in some huge way?

The US... assuming you are a white male.


NOT cool, man, NOT cool. I know plenty of white people that got it rough, plenty of black people, plenty of Latinos, and some Asian people too. Everyone can have a bad time. No need to go hating on anyone like that. Even if you're joking that's not funny. :-x
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875316)
Posted by WreckerJack on April 18th, 2017 @ 6:18pm CDT
I don't even live in Australia and this makes me angry. Isn't collecting hard enough there? Geez.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875318)
Posted by Burn on April 18th, 2017 @ 6:25pm CDT
WreckerJack wrote:Isn't collecting hard enough there? Geez.

No, not really. We actually had access (via TRU) to TakaraTomy Masterpieces. We get nearly all waves of all lines and suffer poor distribution like every other country.

We just end up paying more.
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875327)
Posted by WreckerJack on April 18th, 2017 @ 7:04pm CDT
Burn wrote:

We just end up paying more.


That is what I am saying. When you pay more and shipping costs more it limits your options. Instead of being able to pick up all the figures you want you sometimes have to make choices about the ones you really want. (I have to do this even though I live in the US. Yay for adulting >:oP )
Re: eBay to geo-block Australia? (1875421)
Posted by Terrsolpix on April 19th, 2017 @ 2:39am CDT
SillySpringer wrote:Is there a country in the world that doesn't suck in some huge way?

US, assuming kinder eggs and children with such low IQs that they choke on anything they see don't exist.

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