Oculus CEO challenges Australians to go to ACCC
There's no doubt about it. Oculus Rift's price reveal had a veritable rippling effect throughout the Reddit, gaming, and virtual reality communities. However, no one is feeling the pain more than Australian consumers, who will be forced to pay well over 1000AUD to purchase the product.
In a recent AMA on Reddit with Palmer Luckey, CEO of Oculus, Australian user u/socially_reddited posed this incredible question:
“Hi Palmer. Apologies for [the] long question but you didn't seem to understand the issue in the last AMA.
So the main issue for Australians is the shipping cost.
Why the hell is shipping $130 USD (~$180 AUD)? Especially when it's shipping from Sydney!? It is cheaper to ship from U.S to Australia via a third party instead. So, why do you even have a warehouse in Australia? This is insane. There are also issues with taxation. It's shipping from within Aus so we pay GST of 10%. Yet the base price adds what I assume is U.S taxes, it goes from $599 to $685 or whatever.
So we're somehow paying two taxes, plus the most expensive shipping costs the world has ever seen. If this issue is worked out, it would bring the cost down to around $900 and I would buy immediately. All you have to do is ship directly to Aus, instead of from within Aus.”
The Oculus VR warehouse located in Sydney, Australia charges $130 for shipping and includes both U.S. and AUS taxes for buyers in the land down under.
In a half-ass reply Palmer Luckey addressed the question with:
“I can't throw anyone under the bus. Wish I had a better answer for you, I really do. If it helps, it should be clear from our international pricing choices overall that we are not trying to gouge anyone, I don't have anything out for Australia.”
Another upset user asked if Australians should refer to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - a government run collective in charge of securing fair trade in Australia. To which Palmer replied:
“Feel free, would be interesting to see what they say.”
Through negligence to throw others "under the bus", Palmer Luckey has successfully evoked the rage of Aussie gamers everywhere. With the final comment (shown above) Luckey retreated into his hidey-hole and has refused to post further on the thread. It's safe to say that the PR surrounding this issue is some of the worst ever seen.
It's scary to see the way Oculus is handling their consumer base when the Rift is still so far from actual launch. This outrage will surely leave the company reeling and provide an excellent foot-in-the-door for other VR projects like PlayStation VR.
It is unclear if anyone has actually gone to the ACCC with this issue. It would be interesting to hear what they say indeed.