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Thread: Why Australians Pay More for Astronomy Equipment - Everything Explained

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    Exclamation Why Australians Pay More for Astronomy Equipment - Everything Explained



    Well, my eyes have been open here in Australia.

    Working alongside Australia Telescopes to promote their store I have found out the craziest things.

    Why are Australians paying top dollar for things from Australian Stores? Why are they buying their Equipment Over-seas like I did myself for a lot of it?

    Well here is the key to the puzzle - Distribution Rights

    There are "distributors" here in Australia that fail to distribute their products to anyone, but yet sell these products themselves - and other distributors like Celestron only give it out to buddies and also sell frying pans!

    What does this mean?


    Well in the US there are manufacturers such as iOptron, in Germany ie Baader Planetarium. In Germany, Baader gives out products to the dealers. In the US iOptron gives out products to their dealers. Directly. No middle man.

    Now since here most equipment is manufactured abroad there needs to be a distribution entity here.

    So some manufacturers are "smart" enough or poor enough (as they cannot afford to have an office and warehouse here) so they give their distribution rights over to another company here in Australia. Now this company can sell pots and pans, be a horrible distributor that doesn't want to distribute to anyone, or almost as worse only distribute to certain people of their choice.

    Funny enough, Distribution channels have rules. Some make sense. IE Orion telescopes, you need to have a retail location ie store front to sell their stuff - it can't be in the bush - it has to be a nice store for astronomy products. There is not one seller, that does not have a storefront that sells Orion. Rules are strict with Orion. Despite the fact they said listen we love you guys, but we really need you to have a store - I respect them and Australia Telescopes staff did as well. That is class.

    Now we have some, like Celestron's distributors here in Australia. We have some stores that have websites, yet no retail location. Yet they sell products from Celestron and are even touted as official sellers! How are they allowed to sell, while others are not?

    Funny thing is when Australia Telescopes approached Celestron and their distributor - Australia Telescopes was told no - although they have warehouse and office space - they wanted a storefront. Some websites selling astronomy equipment do not even have an address let alone a warehouse or office space. Others have a website that they designed themselves (some quite badly) yet still sell official Celestron gear off them. Now the website is not the issue, nor are the guys selling - its the distributors that are picking and choosing who. Why not be like the rest of the distributors in Australia and allow people who run a legit business to sell. Again the consumer suffers.

    Another "distributor" who will not be named "distributes" and sells astronomical cameras himself - so he said margins were too low to give out to people -but said that Australia Telescopes should let them advertise on Astronomy Forum for free and he may then give them a tiny percentage. I guess that is why he doesn't have any stores stocking those cameras. Its both the manufacturer's loss and consumers.

    They end up paying more, because of less competition. The control is rested in the distributors here and some of them are laughing at the people who choose not to shop around...

    Either way it seems something is not right in OZ. We all lose because of people like this and it gives me yet another reason to find good prices and refuse to pay to the few insiders that control the rights to sell a product here, whatever the "rules"

    Maybe fair trading needs a call?
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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  3. #2
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    I knew there must be a reason we were being screwed.
    Well I think they'll find that if they want to sell, they'll have to change their tactics.

    The US economy will zoom down to meet their output - at the moment they can cruise - when it starts to get tough, they'll have to shift their rumps into gear.
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    Jen its just a huge scam for some of these products.

    No wonder Celestron is not doing well here. I wanted to get the Celestron Nexstar 6 or 8SE when I first came here - then I saw the prices!

    In Canada and the US it is like $400, here it was something like $1200+

    When there is no competition, and only one distributor - things get ugly. The middle man (distributor) not only takes a cut but in this case limits the amount of dealers. The dealers can price products high, as there is no way to get that product easily elsewhere.

    Celestron's distributor is a major distributor of pots and pans. What is the same about selling pots and pans and telescopes? They both cost money maybe?

    Now for photography I can understand it somewhat - they have DSLRs and tripod manufacturers together. Sure obviously makes sense.

    Now the grey-market imports I understand as well - the good distributors have a local warranty here and it costs to get parts shipped here, the labor costs more etc. But its all GOOD as its in support of the local people jobs etc.

    That is why I bought both my DSLRs here. For my astronomical cameras I purchased both abroad.


    The grey market is good in a way because it forces the distributors to try to get a decent price for the consumer as they have a choice.

    But the Astronomy consumer loses out to people like Celestron's distributors Sheldon & Hammond -why? because there is no grey market for telescopes. Its too small and who is going to ship a C14 over to Australia for 1 sale? On the other hand to ship DSLRs its easier, and the market is bigger for that product.

    BUT here is the kicker, idiots like Sheldon & Hammond don't realize that consumers have a choice. I had a choice to buy a Celestron Nexstar here - but I did not. I'm not an idiot and nor are most astronomy consumers, they see the US price X3 or X4 the price jacked up here.

    That is the wake up call that somebody is trying to make a joke out of you, go somewhere else and stay far FAR away.
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    I bought my canon from someone on Ice in Space! It's an American Xsi (450D) which are $1000 plus here if you can get them and I paid $550 and it hadn't been used - came with fancy soft bag and extra battery too
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    Unfortunately that is the price I paid Jen!

    Either way glad you got a good price, I am not sure my extra $500 paid to the distributor and the camera store was worth it. I guess I supported the local community :P - although I haven't used the support network and my warranty is about done..


    Well I have a question, as this is interesting and sad - maybe I should send this question to my lawyer friends (i dont have many of those! :P ):

    Can Sheldon and Hammond - Celestron's "distributor" in Australia discriminate potential dealers ?

    They mentioned they had a "trial" with some stores that do not have a brick and mortar storefront.

    Interestingly this has lasted many years for many of the stores that I may name or may not name here.

    Either way, I think its a joke to even mention a "trial". So there is a trial for 10 stores or more that don't have a retail shop but not for others?

    Sure Celestron would love to hear this, but what avenues does one have if not Fair Trading and/or a lawyer?

    Then on the other hand I say should Australia Telescopes waste their breath when you can buy a Celestron Nexstar 8Se for $100 and sell it here like the swindlers are for $1200?

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/34...e_General.html

    Sadly that would be joining them, so if Australia Telescopes can grey market scopes for a good price for Australians hell I say all power to them!
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Hmmm, too bad we couldn't set something up on this end to have a domestic buyer that would ship directly to the customers down under, i.e.:

    you place an order with me
    I place the order with OPT/Orion/whoever
    they ship to me
    I ship directly to you

    It would probably be a bit of a logistics pain-in-the-tookus but I'm sure an enterprising individual could make a bit of money on it and still get you folks your goods for much less than the in-country distributors charge down there.

    Just a thought...
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    I've been shopping for a starter telescope and found that a lot of websites do ship internationally. The problem is you can expect to pay $100-150+ for postage to Australia. Even smaller scopes come in quite large boxes.

    I ended up buying a Celestron 114eq off eBay from the UK for $180AUD + $100AUD postage which was the best price I could find after a lot of searching. This is still less than $330 which was the lowest price I could find in Australia. It's painful to think that in the states you can get the same piece of kit for $129 including postage. (Our currencies are more or less at parity)

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    Hi welcome to the forums and thanks for posting here

    This is still less than $330 which was the lowest price I could find in Australia. It's painful to think that in the states you can get the same piece of kit for $129 including postage. (Our currencies are more or less at parity)
    You obviously missed the incredible deal at NutHut which is about $470+ for shipping lol... note it says on SPECIAL! wonder why people are taking advantage of overseas items in conditions like these

    we must be idiots...
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Gus,

    How much does the Australian government add to the process? Here in Greece it's over 30% (taxes, custom duties, custom broker fees, etc., etc., etc.). They even tax the cost of shipping.

    Joe

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    What makes no sense to me is the retail prices here in Aus. I wanted a new focuser for my scope, so checked the Aus stores and found only one seller. Price - AU$495 plus shipping. So online to the US manufacturer, his retail price - AU$395 including shipping to Aus - for exactly the same focuser.

    It just don't understand. I wanted to buy in Aus, but I felt was being ripped off.

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