Shock News! OK, not really. It’s a bit of a tired cliché to decry that we’re paying too much for our gadgets at retail (even though many of us are buying online anyway), but it looks as though something might actually be happening about it. Albeit only maybe, and only slowly. Sydney Morning Herald reports on the latest salvo in the long running saga to get Australian retail prices at least somewhat in line with international ones, citing Labor MP Ed Husic, the member for Chifley, whose particular bugbear is software and hardware that costs significantly more for Australian purchasers. Husic’s quoted as referencing many Australian retailers who are afraid to speak out against big firms such as HP and Canon for fear of losing accounts.
It looks like the efforts are paying off, with the productivity commission said to be looking into the issue. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury is quoted by the Herald as having written to Husic, stating
Treasury officials have met with the commission to discuss issues related to price discrimination. I am advised that the commission's preparation of the final report is underway and that the issue of price discrimination will be examined further in that report"
It’s not just a closed door session, however; the story notes that the commission is welcoming submissions on price discrimination from consumers and businesses alike, which can be sent to [email protected]
It’s at least a step in the right direction, although whether anything will really change remains to be seen. At the very least, I’d hate to be whoever’s got to sort through the submissions at the end of that email address; there would have to be hundreds if not thousands of examples that could be submitted. [SMH]