Let’s face it: We all know deep down that we are being fleeced!

Australians are paying more than anyone in the developed world on goods and services.

Any Australian who has been to the US recently is always shocked to find out how much things are cheaper there compared to what we pay here at home.

For example: iTunes music and videos.

Get your hands on an American credit card with a billing address in the US (legally obviously) and voila, you will pay anything between 30% and 50% less on the exact same music and videos. This is for a product which is entirely digital where no physical delivery or shipping costs are involved!

Amazon have recently launched their Kindle Store for the Australian audience with pricing in Australian Dollars. Not surprisingly, they have also joined the ‘rip-off’ bandwagon. Prices are significantly higher than in the Kindle US Store, even after accounting for currency exchange rate fluctuations. Kindle, like iTunes, is another product which is entirely digital where no physical delivery or shipping costs are involved!

Things have actually gotten so bad in this area that the Australian Parliament has launched a formal parliamentary inquiry into the dubious pricing practices of the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft.   When the local execs of these giants faced the inquiry they came up with some ridiculous excuses to explain their dodgy practices.

Now let’s talk about food. Did you know that the ultimate Australian food icon, the Vegemite, is actually cheaper in the UK than it is in Australia by a staggering FORTY PERCENT? This is not even an import but actually a product made here in Australia and nowhere else on the planet! The poms import it from us and even after all the extra costs involved in getting it from here to the UK, their supermarkets are able to sell it for FORTY PERCENT less than what you would pay at your local Woolies or Coles!

This is pure insanity and must be brought to an end!

Sure, lack of local competition, small market and relatively small population play their part in creating this situation.

However, I would respectfully argue that there is another important factor at play here and one that will not be pleasant to the ears of many Australians:  Aussies in general are simply too laid back and maybe even gullible people when it comes to their behaviour as consumers.

I know, the truth hurts but that doesn’t change the fact it is still the truth!

Let me ask you this: when was the last time you walked into a Harvey Norman, Rebel sport, or any other national retailer selling big ticket items and seen someone negotiating down the price stated on the ticket? When was the last time YOU did that?

Australians will negotiate hard when it comes to buying a property and sometimes when buying a car but that’s basically it. That’s where it ends.

I ask: why?

Is it part of our culture to just cop it on the chin and take the stated price as gospel? No, I didn’t think so either.

What about consumer boycotts? These can be very effective and have been hugely successful in Europe and other countries and have often brought big companies to their knees and in some cases, even to the edge of bankruptcy.

Why can’t we do it here? Are we too lazy?

So bottom line, yes we do pay too much and yes, we do pay more than anyone else. However, we have no one to blame but ourselves for that!

What else can we do to change this situation? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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