By PowerBuy // 5 October 2012 // Related Categories: Tips

Do you like the sound of scoring a cheap laptop, smartphone, tablet or other gadget? You may find better prices if you buy online from overseas but it’s important know the risks before you place your order.


1.    If something breaks…. good luck!

Most manufacturers only warrant their products in the country where the item is shipped. In short, this means that if something goes wrong then it’s your responsibility to return the item back to its original location to get fixed. International shipping may end up costing you more than what you saved in the first place, and if the store refuses to accept your returned item then things get very difficult, fast. Some major brands like Apple, HP, Samsung, Dell and Lenovo claim to offer international warranties (which means you can buy overseas and have your product serviced here), but read the fine print to make sure you’re covered before you proceed.

2.    Who do you call for support?

When you phone technical support they usually check that your product was shipped locally and if you purchase overseas they may not offer you free support. In some cases the model you purchased may not even be available in Australia which means they can’t help you at all.

3.    The power supply may not be compatible

 Your international delivery may not arrive with an Australian power plug and/or the adapter may not support local regulatory requirements. A non-compliant power supply may affect your battery life or if you’re really unlucky it won’t work at all.

4.    Beware of hidden costs

The freight costs for shipping large products internationally may cancel out any saving you hoped to make. In addition, if the product is worth $1,000 or more you’ll have to pay GST (10%).

5.    Make sure your seller is genuine

Every day hundreds of Aussies get caught out buying from International stores who misrepresent the products they are selling or in some instances they don’t even exist. There’s always a risk if you buy from an overseas seller because if something goes wrong you can’t report them in to a local authority.


Have you ever purchased a techie gadget from an overseas store? How was your experience? Please share with us.

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