EXPOSED: KEF Price Gouging, Hi Fi Gear in OZ
Serious questions are being raised about the high price of KEF sound products in Australia, with several of the UK Companies products listed on local retailer’s sites, at thousands of dollars over what the same products are selling for in the USA or the UK where Value Added Tax is 20% Vs Australia’s 10% GST. In one instance the Canadian price for a popular KEF speaker was half the price being charged in Australia.
Distributed by Advance Audio Australia, who are struggling after they were dumped by US home automation Company Control 4 last year, some of the KEF products researched by SoundMag and ChannelNews, are listed at several Australia specialists Hi Fi retailers at up 45% and some over 50% what the same product are selling for in the UK and Canada and up to 30% over the US price for the same goods.
Out of 20 KEF products researched by SoundMag and offered for sale in Australia not one was either cheaper or parity priced similar to the UK or the USA.
This was despite several of the US KEF products being priced similar to the UK pricing.
A pair of their brand-new KEF Reference 1 Bookshelf Loudspeakers in – High Gloss Piano Black, is selling in Australia with a recommended price tag of $18,299 currently the lifestyle have them discounted out to, $14,995.0 as a special offer.
The same pair of speakers is on sale at one of the UK’s largest specialist Hi Fi stores Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, for 4,499 UK pounds, which when converted at today’s exchange rate is the equivalent of A$7,516.36, which is almost half the Australian price for the same goods, the UK price includes 20% VAT.
Sevenoaks said that they would ship the speakers to Australia for $500.
The same pair of speakers are on sale in the USA for US$7,999 or when converted to Australian dollars is $11,731 a saving of $3,264.
Amazon will ship these speakers to Australia for sub $300. Add 10% GST and the difference is $$2,487.
The KEF Reference 3 speakers which sell in Australia for $24,499 are $12,467 in the UK and $18,665 in the USA.
The Kef T305 5.1 home theatre speaker is $4,399, in Australia, $2,841, in the UK and $2,932 in the USA.
The new KEF LS 50 wireless speakers which are retailing in Australia for $3,799 a pair at several retailers can be purchased at retailers in Canada for A$1,508, this includes a 5% GST. Two retailers that we spoke to said that they “willingly” ship the goods to Australia. This is a difference of $2,291.
Nether KEF or Advance Audio have explained the reason for
Currently KEF is pushing their KEF LS 50 speakers as a wireless option speakers, to get stereo sound out of these speakers one must run an Ethernet cable between the two KEF speakers.
At CES 2017 where ChannelNews was able to compare the KEF LS 50 speakers Vs the High Res Audio speakers from Bluesound, the Bluesound was a better alternative for consumers who want a high end networked audio setup, as one can easily pair two High Res Audio speakers in seconds. Also superior is the fact that one can easily manage content across multiple Bluetooth speaker or soundbar products.
For the same price as the KEF LS 50 speakers, one can buy two Bluesound Pulse speakers, ($1499) each without the need for an Ethernet cables between the two speakers.
In addition, the Bluesound speakers come with superior app management software
I also suggest that that you try and negotiate a Bluesound subwoofer as part of the deal this should cost around $800.
According to Len Wallis, the CEO of Len Wallis Audio the difference in the KEF pricing is not sustainable long term.
“consumers today are becoming online savvy, they know that there is a difference between pricing on overseas sites and those offered by Australian retailers. They are prepared to accept a 20% difference but anything above this and they will look elsewhere. They recognise that we have currency fluctuations and additional shipping”.
One retailer who is selling KEF products said “The pricing from Advance Audio is what we have to live with. I am aware that some retailers overseas are selling products cheaper than what we can buy the same products from Advance Audio”.