Consumers should spoof their IP address and use US forwarding addresses to beat high IT prices in Australia, consumer advocacy group Choice said.
Choice, which has made submissions to the parliamentary IT pricing inquiry, told consumers to fight geo-blocking, the practice by which companies block consumers in certain regions from buying goods based on their IP address.
The group has today released a guide explaining how to do so using virtual private networks (VPNs) and alternative domain name systems (DNSs).
Choice also suggested setting up US iTunes accounts and using surrogate US addresses for forwarding packages from American stores. Choice has noted previously that Australians pay 52 per cent more for digital music downloads on iTunes compared to US users.
Choice urged the IT pricing inquiry to support the practices in its final report.
“We found evidence of international companies treating Australians with contempt by forcing them to pay higher prices for identical goods,” says Choice head of campaigns Matt Levey.
“Smart shoppers can beat these companies at their own game, ramping up competitive pressure by accessing legitimate, cheaper products through unofficial online supply channels.”
Choice noted that other countries’ product warranties may not be recognised in Australia and consumers run the risk of having their accounts suspended.
“As long as consumers are aware of the risks and do their due-diligence, there is no reason why they cannot pick up a bargain online with confidence,” Levey said. “It also undermines the virtual walls these companies have built around the Australian market, which in the long term will help bring down prices to a global parity.”
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