Everyone loves a bargain and the internet is full of them, but don’t get too carried away, make sure you do your research first. Below are a couple of common things you need to know when purchasing online and from overseas in Australia, and yes we are based in Australia and yes we are biased, but for goods reasons.
A lot of people are under the impression that a simple travel plug converter will be able to be used to convert a USA style power plug to an Australian style power plug, but this is not the case.
U.S. electrical goods are designed to run on a 110-120v circuit (which is the main electrical supply in the USA). In Australia, the standard supply is 220-240v. So if you purchase a U.S. electrical device designed for 110-120v and use only a plug adaptor and plug it into an Australian 240v outlet you are going to run into trouble, whether it’s blowing up switches, melting components or starting electrical fires.
Importing Goods by Post
Imported goods may arrive into Australia by airfreight, express courier, sea cargo or via the post. The method of delivery determines the Customs clearance formalities and charges.
If you are receiving your goods via the post you are considered the importer of those goods and these may be subject to Customs duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Generally, all goods imported into Australia are subject to Customs duty and GST and are assessed for community protection risks. However, all goods (except for tobacco and alcoholic beverages) may be imported duty and tax free if the value of the goods is A$1000 or less.
Irrespective of how your imported goods arrive in Australia, you will be required to lodge a formal Customs Import Declaration if their value is above A$1000, and pay the calculated duty and taxes. Import Declarations are used to clear goods from Customs control. Import Declaration may be lodged electronically, documentarily or through the use of a licensed Customs Broker (located in your local yellow pages). There are cost recovery charges associated with the lodgement of an import declaration.
Warranty and Support
Lastly, and most importantly Australian distributors will not support products bought outside Australia, and why would they? They weren’t involved in the sale. That means that any warranties they a product may boast will only be valid through the channels that they were purchased.
A lot of Australian Distributors are prompting their retailers to not accept warranty claims against their brands if they were not purchased in the country. This is not only for products purchased from overseas retailers but also Australian based retailers that are importing goods when they are not authorized to do so. Make sure when you buy a product you are buying it from an Authorized Retailer. If you are concerned about the authenticity of a retailer you can check the dealer against the manufacturer’s Authorized Dealer directory available on most manufacturers’ web site.
Gibson, Fender, Zoom...
Our advice for anyone looking to purchase musical or electrical products is:
Support your local retailer. If price is your number one concern ask your local retailer first, as all good retailers will do everything in their power to get your business. Also, if you have problems it’s easier for someone down the road to help you than someone in another country. Try out our Price Match Feature if you don't like making phone calls - generally we'll get back to you on the same day if it's during business hours.
Ask lots of questions. Do your research and make sure you know exactly what you are buying, and what is and isn't included in your purchase.
Make sure you are buying from an Authorized Dealer; otherwise you may as well buy second hand because there is no warranty.