Online deals better from overseas

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Online deals better from overseas

Consumers who buy electronics directly from overseas e-commerce sites and have them shipped to Korea around Black Friday can save up to 35 percent, according to a report by the Korea Consumer Agency. However, the agency warned of the lack of customer service after purchases, as six of the top 10 brands purchased via this route did not provide assistance.

The research was conducted Nov. 24 to 30 on five popular electronics. The study compared prices, which included delivery costs and tariffs, on Amazon’s U.S. and European websites and Korea’s top three e-commerce sites: 11st, Auction and Gmarket.

Four out of five products were cheaper when bought through direct overseas shopping. KitchenAid’s blender offered the biggest bargain. It was 35.1 percent cheaper when purchased abroad. The only product cheaper on Korean websites was De’Longhi’s toaster: Its price on Amazon was 53.8 percent more expensive.

Also cheaper abroad were Dyson’s vacuum cleaner (21.4 percent), Nespresso’s coffee machine (22 percent) and De’Longhi’s electrical kettle (4.7 percent).

“Product prices varied a great deal according to from which country it was bought,” said an agency spokesman. For example, the same KitchenAid blender was 294,781 won ($244) from the french Amazon site while on the U.S. website, it was 486,466 won.

“Our advice to consumers is to compare prices per country before making the final decision,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the agency also questioned Korean offices or importers of foreign electronic brands on whether they repair products bought from direct online shopping abroad. Six among 10 - the top two from each product sector - gave negative answers citing technical reasons.

The biggest barrier was that electronics sold in various countries used different components and voltage according to the country’s law on home electronics, even if it was for an identical model of the same brand. Four companies that provide repairs - Nespresso, NMF, Dolce Gusto and Electrolux - said, as a condition, components of the model must be found in Korea.

“We were told that electronics sold in multiple countries use different components that follow the importers’ law on electronics in detail,” said an agency spokesman. “Therefore changing components of products sold abroad in Korea may cause dysfunction or even dangerous circumstances.”


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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