Are Australians Being Gouged On The Price Of Apple Products? Parliament Wants To Know

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Overseas customers of Apple products often feel like they are paying a premium for Apple products, but Australians believe they have it extra rough, and Australian parliament wants answers: Apple, Microsoft and Adobe have been called in to appear before a committee investigating potential price fixing in the land down under.

Last July, in response to complaints from Australian consumer bodies saying that Australian buyers were being price gouged, the House of Representatives set out to see if there was any truth to the idea that some goods were more expensive in Australia than n other places in the world.

How bad can prices get in Australia? According to parliament member Ed Husic, some goods in Australia cost as much as 60% higher than in the United States.

“Given the widespread use of IT across businesses and the community, the prices paid for hardware and software can have a major commercial and economic impact,” the politician was quoted as saying.

“Getting downward movement on IT prices and easing the bite of price discrimination should be an important micro-economic priority – so I’m looking forward to hearing from these firms about their pricing approaches,” he added.

Looking over the Australian Apple Store, Apple’s prices don’t look that bad. A 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro starts at approximately $1,950.69, compared to $1,799 on the American Apple Store. That’s an 8 percent difference. However, in Australia, retailers are required by law to display prices inclusive of sales tax. If I add Massachusetts sales tax to the price of that MacBook Pro, the prices are only about $39 USD off. But that’s just the price differential on Apple’s most expensive laptop model. The iPad mini fares worse in a comparison: an entry-level iPad mini in Australia costs almost $50 USD more than it does in the States.

Apple will have to appear before Parliament on March 22nd to answer questions about the way they price products in Australia.

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  • Gregory Wright

    Sounds like political grandstanding to me. Everything in Aussie is priced high. See cost of living in Aussie here: http://goo.gl/OS70l. Why single out electronic manufacturers.

  • technochick

    Anything that is imported from another country is likely to be higher priced due to import taxes etc. one of the issues that the Aussie Govt has is the cost difference on downloaded software. But their own laws may be taxing said software as if it is a physical product. So if they want the prices to come down they need to change their laws.

    About the only thing that Apple etc might be doing wrong (or not right in a truly fair way) is when they reset prices based on currency change. At one point it came out that Apple was only doing it once a year. Then it went to twice a year. Perhaps 4 times a year is the better number. Sure it means that sometimes folks might get a tad gypped but it will flip the other way at times as well. Eventually we might make it to a system where it changes every couple of weeks which would be better still but takes adjusting systems to pull it off.

  • Ross Healy

    I think its the fact the Aussie dollar is greater than the US yet we are still paying more for itunes music etc

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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