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Comparing online products and prices 

Just like with conventional in-store shopping, getting value for money when shopping online involves comparing alternative products, suppliers and prices. This information tells you what to consider when comparing products and prices.

Know what you are buying 

Be wary if a deal looks too good to be true because it probably is! It could be a scam to attract victims, or the item could be a damaged or of an inferior quality to what you expected.

Make sure you know what you are getting for your money. Shop around to compare prices, uses, abilities and quality. Check prices on a price comparison site, and read the product description very carefully for words such as 'second-hand' or 'refurbished'.

Prestige brand items advertised at extremely low prices could be counterfeit goods which can not be legally imported into Australia.

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Clothing and shoe size differences 

Different countries use different size scales for clothes and shoes. For example in women’s clothing a size 10 in Australia is called a size 6 in the United States. So it helps to have a shoe and clothing size conversion table.

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Compatibility of electrical and audio visual equipment 

Domestic electricity supplied in the United States is 110 volt, while in Australia it is 240 volt. As a result electrical equipment made for the United States can’t be operated in Australia unless it is connected to a transformer, or the device has a self switching power supply.

There are also other technical compatibility issues that affect audio visual devices like TV tuners. Buying such equipment online from an overseas supplier can be a costly mistake.

Before purchasing from overseas you should also satisfy yourself that repair facilities and spare parts are reasonably available in Australia.

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Compare the total cost 

When considering if there is a cost benefit in buying goods from overseas, remember to include all handling, shipping, insurance and currency conversion costs as well as any import duties and taxes in the total price that you compare.

Before buying an item such as a computer online from an overseas supplier, remember to check if the warranty extends to places outside the supplier’s country.

When comparing products and prices also consider if the goods can be conveniently serviced and repaired in Australia.

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Can the goods be legally imported? 

Check with Australian customs whether an item you might want to purchase from overseas can be legally brought into Australia.

Australian customs can also tell you the amount of any import duty or tax you might need to pay before you can collect the goods once they arrive in Australia.

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