Choice Slams OZ Retailers & Vendors For Price Goughing

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Choice Australia, the organisation that last year accused LG of cheating with their appliances, has now taken a major swipe at retailers and consumer electronics vendors in Australia. They have also attacked overseas retailers for failing to recognise Australian credit cards when consumers use International web sites.

Choice Australia, the organisation that last year accused LG of cheating with their appliances, has now taken a major swipe at retailers and consumer electronics vendors in Australia. They have also attacked overseas retailers for failing to recognise Australian credit cards when consumers use International web sites.

The attacks are contained in a submission to the Productivity Commission’s retail inquiry.

Choice claims that both vendors and retailers are engaged in price gouging and that despite a high Australian dollar savings are not being passed onto consumers.

Among the biggest price gougers are Hi Fi and sound gear distributors a recent study has revealed. Also criticised in an Australian Institute study are PC makers like Lenovo who are currently launching their new ThinkPad X1 with a recommended retail price of $1,995. The same notebook is selling in the USA for $1,029 dollars.

Choice claims that a strong Australian dollar should enable local retailers to pass on savings to their customers however a survey of several retailers today by ChannelNews reveals that it could be vendors and distributors who are hanging onto exchange rate savings with one major retailer claiming that that they have already confronted several vendors about their pricing.

Choice said Australians are paying more for everything from computer games to motorcycles, Choice says.

A Harvey Norman executive said “We are getting blamed when in reality we are paying some of the highest rents in the world for floor space in shopping centres. What Choice should be looking at is the likes of Westfield and other property developers who have locked retailers into high rents on the promise of traffic through their shopping centres”.

“We are getting traffic, reduced traffic and a lot of the people in shopping centres are window shoppers who then go and buy online”.

Choice said that Nike running shoes that cost $134 dollars overseas were selling for $240 in Australia.

Choice said the top 12 music albums were 73% more expensive in Australia than in the USA where Australians are barred from using US iTunes.

The popular video game Portal 2 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 costs 91% from a major Australian online retailer than from a website based in Asia.

“There are too many examples, from white goods to motorcycles and TVs to video games, where we pay more. Importers and retailers should not cry foul if consumers chase better prices, wherever they may be” Choice campaigns director Christopher Zinn said in a statement.

“It’s up to those in the supply chain here in Australia to justify why this is the case.

Choice also attacked global retailers who are blocking Austr4alian credit cards on their overseas sites.

“We are challenging global corporations to drop the artificial technological barriers used to block competitive prices online, such as those affecting software and music downloads,” Mr Zinn said.

“There is no reason why Australians should pay more than consumers in comparable countries for digitally delivered items like software.”

The Productivity Commission has been asked to report on the current structure, performance and efficiency of the retail sector and the broader issues contributing to the increase in online purchasing by Australian consumers.

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