Tuppenceworth directed me to a worrying bit of news – Amazon have gone totally insane.
Having read the posts and comments over at Michele’s blog, I had to get my writing fingers out.
Let’s start with the issues in the order they come to me:
- The point was made that if you contacted a baker and asked for their cheap bread, they would be entitled to decline your offer of slang-bread for eating-bread on the grounds that they couldn’t reasonably meet your request without additional costs. Amazon don’t make bread. Amazon is an incredible logistics machine with a proven capability to get packages from Dusseldorf to Dublin – as long as you are willing to pay the shipping costs.
- There is a quasi-Irish Amazon site – it’s called shopireland.ieÂ and it is run in association with Amazon. Prices are in euro and are quoted at Irish VAT rates. It is very nice. I have used it a lot. (Michele NeylonÂ has informed me that this is an Amazon Associates site – thanks for the clarification.) This is what happened today when I tried to buy from an ostensibly IRISH website.Â Apparently Ireland is ‘International’ on an Irish site… I wonder if Dermot Ahern knows we’re not in the EU anymore? I wonder how the owners of shopireland.ie feel about their business being impacted by Amazon’s unilateral decision?
- Somewhat ironically (as anyone who has read the comment over on Michele’s site) Amazon’s customer service centre is not in the UK but…. in IrelandÂ (Cork),Â as is their Systems, Networks and Operating Centre (Dublin). So our transactions are being captured (technically speaking) within the jurisdiction of the Irish Republic. But as we don’t live in the Irish Republic anymore we are “International”….
- Companies may try to segment their regional markets for a variety of reasons: operational reporting, segmented pricing (ie different prices in different countries). However if they attempt to enforce those prices when a citizen of the EU ‘shops around’ and puts a retailer in a role of ‘passive-seller’ then any attempt to prevent that Retailer from selling to that consumer is an illegal act – either under Free Movement of goods or Competition Law (abuse of a dominant position in Market A to protect/grow Market B).
- Warranty issues may be a valid argument – but most of the appliances I’ve bought in recently have either come with warranty information for EVERY EU country or just for the UK (because we speak English and they used to live here we must be English apparently). Therefore, the warranty issue is not as strong an arguement. Also, Caveat Emptor is a defence available to the manufacturer – the buyer would take on the risk of not being covered by a warranty – no reason not to sell it.
So it looks like we are no longer in the EU because Amazon has decided so. I can see how that might be the case, what with the CIA allegedly using Shannon as a carpark and Airforce 1 and Airforce 2 stopping off for Duty Free every few months. Combine that with a national development plan that has put the car (single occupant preferred) at the centre of transport planning and I’d be forgiven for thinking we were the 52nd State of the US.
It is either that or Amazon has just bungled into a whopping Information Quality problem. (Well, we do sit between Iran and Iraq at the UN, we’re obviously Middle Eastern).
Given the impact this has on Irish Consumers, and given that Amazon’s Customer Service call centre is based in Cork, I would suggest letting Eddie Hobbs know…. he can drive down and ask them why they are letting us get ripped off!