Friday, June 17, 2011

Price Gouging and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer

A few months ago Australian retailers (perhaps buoyed by the spectacular success of the Minining Industry doing a similar thing) tried to lobby the government to add Goods and Sales Tax (10%) to overseas (i.e. online) purchases. They cited the usual "if we're hurting, we can't create as many jobs, and so everybody suffers".

Personally I enjoy supporting local retailers. I like brick and mortar stores. I like being sold to by an enthusiastic and informed sales person. And I like the comfort of knowing I can return a product and have my warranty serviced locally.

I like all of this more than 10%. But not more than 36%.

Recently I wanted to buy an Asus Eee Pad Transformer so I could test Metawidget on a physical tablet. The Transformer is a great product at a great price: $399 USD for the base model, $149 USD for the keyboard add-on. So with the way the Aussie dollar is at the moment I figure that should be about $550 AUD, right? Wrong.

The best I could find locally was $750 AUD. That's a 36% difference! So instead I got it from for $570 AUD including international delivery. A good $180 cheaper than I could buy it locally. It's a little hard to find in stock at the moment, but took care of that.

So yes, it comes with a U.S. plug which I'd rather not have. And yes, I'll have to ship it Stateside if anything goes wrong with it. And yes, I wish I could buy it locally at a price I felt wasn't price gouging. But I simply can't.