Unity endorsed ... Ripping people off in other countries!

meinecommunity posted 18th of January 2010 in Community Voice. 10 comments.

Something very interesting, costly, and quite annoying happened to me during the past few days, here at Unity, or rather at the endorsed payment service for Unity members known as SWREG.org

I ordered some services from AntonLV for which I received an email with a link to SWREG in order to make my payment. SWREG happens to be located and officially registered in Minneapolis, USA. They claim to have offices in other countries but I can't find any reference anywhere to any physical offices other than in the USA. I on the other hand, happen to be a resident and living in Germany.

Well, when I clicked on that link in order to make my payment the amount being requested from me (due to reading the I.P. from my locale) was almost the same in Euro as it was in USD. The amount was supposed to be for 40.00 USD, and as the screenshot clearly shows the converted rate was 36,70 Euro which in reality is closer to 52.00 USD. Big difference right from the getgo! Anton stated that there would be a "download service" that I could disregard, but guess what ... not from my side of the computer. There was no way for me to disable that extra additional 5,00 Euro function.

To make things even worse, when I attempted to make my payment there was a 19% tax added to the service that I was buying. Now mind you, I've done business with my own legally registered companies in the USA, Germany, and in England ... so I know a little about the legalities of taxation. First of all, in most countries the prices for online services include taxes in the price - if that wasn't so a lot of services would have to be more competitively priced. Secondly, at least 99.9% of the products that you buy online have taxes included already as well, to avoid confusion and legal issues when doing business on a global level. That's really what it's all about, keeping taxation simple on a global level when doing business in numerous countries, each with its very own tax laws. In other words, the taxes being charged are supposed to be strictly for the country in which that company is filing their own tax returns. That's why most countries in the World have tax treaties with each other, to avoid double taxation and confusion. Do you believe that SWREG files taxes in dozens of countries? I sure don't ...

Unity endorsed Payment Service SWREG.

Since SWREG charged me 19% tax which happens to be the tax in Germany, when all was said and done my purchase cost me roughly 73.00 USD as opposed to the 40.00 USD service that I thought I was receiving. Almost 50,00 Euro = 73.00 USD.

SWREG has no business ... doing business like that.

If 10 people from 10 different countries purchased the same service, then SWREG would have to not only charge the correct tax amount for each of those countries, but in addition SWREG would have to report the charged earnings to all of those countries so that the Governments of those countries can duly tax SWREG on the money that was made. And that's exactly why online prices always include taxes in the price of the product ... since it would be far too much hassle to have to deal with international taxation in 10 or perhaps even dozens of countries.

Even worse yet, according to German tax laws, it's not permitted to sell products without the taxable amount that would be added to the price clearly posted to the consumer along with the untaxed price that's being charged. Reason for that is that 99% of all stores include taxes in the price, and the one that doesn't would thereby lull the consumer into believing that those prices are much better, until that buyer got to the cash register. Well, I had no friggen' clue that I was going to be slapped with an additional 19% until that actually happened during the checkkout.

I took screenshots of everything so later on this week I'll be reporting SWREG to the Securities & Exchange Commission, the IRS, and also the German Tax auditing authority. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that SWREG is scamming taxes off perhaps hundreds of thousands of online payees, amounting to millions and millions of ripped of dollars that are being pocketed by SWREG.

I'm very surprised and highly disappointed that Unity couldn't come up with a better payment method ... or even conduct proper research with purchase testing out of different countries. I've been online since 1991. My wife and I met online in 1996 and we conduct at least 75% to 85% of all of our business (including shopping) online. But this is the first time that I've been pushed to use this highly questionable service. I can't believe that I'm the only one that this "phenomena" has happened to. If you've purchased products or services on Unity out of another country for which you were charged additional taxes, I'm here to tell you that you've been ripped off. Taxes are supposed to be included in the price and if they aren't this needs to be stated blatantly as part of the product description in order to properly inform the buyer in advance!

Do you honestly believe that SWREG is filing income taxes in all of the countries that they're charging taxes in? Please, be for real.

 
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houstonlively
Where did they come up with that exchange rate? The Euro hasn't been that low since 2003.
meinecommunity
Search me ....
All I know is that 3 ripoffs in one single transaction can't possibly be coincidence! These guys are on the stock exchange - supposedly a major player in order to be there - with people and money behind them - and that's exactly why I'm pretty sure that someone thought up a scam that would possibly be unnoticed by almost everyone. I mean hey, most people might get annoyed about that extra 5 Euros, but I also think that most people would just pay the product price and tax, shrug their see more shoulders, and get on with life. You'd have to be someone who's done business in other countries, been involved with tax laws, in order to question this "subliminal" manner of ripping people off.
houstonlively
This is interesting reading: http://www.swreg.org/contracts/version_09_01_2_9_0914.htm

Especially this section:

H. "Suggested Retail Price" means the price that You input into the SWREG system as the recommended selling price of each Product. For the avoidance of doubt, while You may load suggested retail prices for Products, SWREG is solely responsible for setting the End User retail price at which Products are resold by SWREG.

When I first read your post, I just assumed SWREG see more was just another payment processor, and made their money on transaction fees. It seems as though SWREG added 25% to the original $40 selling price. Add that profit to the BS extended download charge, and the 2.9% +$1 they made off the seller, they pocketed almost $20 off the sale of a $40 product. Wow, is all I can say.
meinecommunity
I think someone with internal connections should definitely bring this to the attention of the Dolphin Owners/Development Team.
mydatery
That's really weird. I've used SWREG for numerous purchases, many of them with Anton and I've never run into this problem. Yes, I see and disable the extended download option and only get tagged with additional fees if I use my paypal account to put it through. When I run it with the credit/debit card I never get hit with extras beyond the listed price.

Now as far as tax being included or not included in offline transactions (at the store for example) I live in Ohio and with the exception of see more food, it's just a common practice for us to pay the listed price plus tax that is added at the register. For example: If I buy a $10.00 Video at Wal-Mart I know it'll be $10.65 when I get to the register because of the 6.5% sales tax. Not sure how other places, such as Germany, do it. Online I never get hit with sales tax as an additional part of the transaction, I'd just walk on that.
DPC
I to have run into this and i am in Australia the vat surcharge that is ridiculously high.... thus if a mod is to be paid by SWREG i don,t buy it any more. i had things that where $5 US cost me $21 AUD and the exchange rate was very good plus the extended download service... what a load of make believe nonsense.
Should be illegal if you ask me in German would be called "Wucher" in English Legal robbery
Cheers
meinecommunity
Yeah, well, that comment from DPC pretty much enforces and goes to prove the point that the above screenshot already made. And in my case the payment wasn't via Paypal since I used my CC for that. It's no problem to simply not buy anything anymore if the only available "Unity Payment Method" happens to be SWREG.

What really bothers me much more than this one-time rip-off is the fact that Unity permits this. This is all part of the Boonex/Unity setup and I can't understand why people see more are more or less forced into using SWREG when they want to pay for something from Unity (forced is the correct term since the only alternative would be to do without the offered mods/services at all which in turn completely defeats the purpose of Unity).

There are at least 2 other mods that I'm interested in right now, but there's no way in hell that I'll be using SWREG ever again !!!
mallorca
First of all, you are right. But, to help you out the quick way....There is an easy "workaround" for this problem, what I use myself: Just add a us address from NY when you fill out the form and switch back to US $ - that way no tax is added and your own bank do the exchange. And the extended download you must disable and refresh the page when payment page is first presented to you. In the stadium of checkout, there is no more possibility to do so.
Wenn Du Fragen hast, melde Dich.
meinecommunity
Thank you for the workaround, but that's not really a helpful solution since other people are getting ripped off too and since something SHOULD BE DONE in order to prevent this from happening in the first place.

Auch wenn ich die Notlösung nehmen würde, würde SWREG immer noch Geld verdienen und weiterhin andere Leute betrügen die von solch einer Notlösung keine Ahnung haben. Boonex sollte sich eine mehr seriöse Firma aussuchen und sich von diesen Betrügern fern halten. Von einer Wall-Street see more Firma ist es jedenfalls nicht glaubhaft das es sich hierbei nur um "dumme Fehler" handelt. Es ist Betrug!
mydatery
I'm thinking this is an issue that has to do with certain people locations.

1. I know that paypal will not work with people from certain countries, like Kyrgzstan (excuse my spelling of it, I have no clue how to properly spell it) and this is why they use SWREG. I've had discussions with them on it, and they are forced by paypal to use this because they can't get paypal.

2. If your in the US or Canada you do not get hit with these fees. You do have to untick the extended download option, see more but that's it. Using paypal does get us hit with a $3.50 surchage, but that's it.

3. If your looking to purchase multiple items, save up for them and do the purchases at one time.

4. Perhaps some of us who are in the US/Canada could consider working with those outside of North America to help you guys avoid these fees. I know I'd entertain the idea, but not sure of how to legally implement it. Maybe someone with more knowledge of the workings of international exchanges, finance laws between countries and so on could work something out here to truly help everyone out.

5. It might be a good idea for everyone to take some time and research other payment venues to see what will work and provide a decent solution to the problem beyond just complaining. Will CCBill or something else provide the same service for less or will it cost even more.

6. What is a VAT? We don't have those in the US so I have no clue on that one.

Yes I think it's total crap you guys are getting ripped off just because of where you live, comple and total BS.
 
 
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