Electronics Retailer Charging 6.8% Tax To Customers Who Shop Using Internet Explorer 7

While most of you are surely using the latest customized version of Firefox or Chrome to read this post, there are still a handful of people who not only continue to browse the Internet with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but with outdated versions of IE. Thus, one Australian electronics retailer Kogan has decided to impose a tax on customers who apparently refuse to upgrade their browsers.

“We’ve implemented the world’s first ‘Internet Explorer 7 Tax’,” reads an announcement on the Kogan website from earlier this week. “The new 6.8% tax comes into effect today on all products purchased from Kogan.com by anyone still insistent on using the antique browser.”

The company says customers’ insistence on using the outdated browser is holding it back from providing the best service for everyone:

One of the things stopping that is our web team having to spend a lot of time making our new website look normal on IE7. This is an extremely old browser, so from today, anyone buying from the site who uses IE7 will be lumped with a 6.8% surcharge – that’s 0.1% for each month IE7 has been on the market.

Customers can avoid the tax by simply upgrading to something that wasn’t released when people still watched Desperate Housewives.

“As Internet citizens, we all have a responsibility to make the Internet a better place,” explains Kogan. “By taking these measures, we are doing our bit.”

Out of curiosity, I took a look at how many Consumerist readers are using IE7. Turns out only about 16% of our visitors use any version of IE and only 12% of those visitors are using version 7. So fewer than two out of every 100 of you would be impacted by this “tax.”

[via RetailCustomerExperience.com]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Schildkrote says:

    “While most of you are surely using the latest customized version of Firefox or Chrome to read this post, there are still a handful of people who not only continue to browse the Internet with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but with outdated versions of IE.”

    What if we implemented a sentence structure tax?

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      Wow IE7 is not outdated.
      It is still supported by Microsoft.
      Businesses use older revs to prevent the glitches you get with the newest versions of browsers.
      Also IE9 does not work in XP which many companies still use.

      Now for a home computer, you should have the newest browser for your OS.

  2. Astranger says:

    Can I use Firefox 1.0?

  3. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I will definitely keep this in mind if I ever need to buy a TV in Australia.

  4. mentok1982 says:

    I am one of the 2 out of 100. My work computer is getting upgraded to Windows 7 and IE9 on June 29th and I can’t wait to see the last of IE7.

    That’s the US government for ya’.

    • LightningUsagi says:

      Same here…we’re still on clunky IE 6 at work. I am sooooo tired of all the “your browser is old” banners I get everywhere.

      However, one of the government sites we use has a message that says it works best on Netscape 4.7…so you should consider yourself lucky to not be stuck on that. ^_^

      • akiri423 says:

        We have a website that we regularly use that says we could use Netscape, too. Thankfully we can be on IE8, but try to use IE9, Firefox, or Chrome and NOTHING we do works properly. :(

      • drjayphd says:

        Those banners, as well as the fact that reporters don’t have to deal with advertising, convinced IT to upgrade Firefox on my work desktop from 3 to 12, so at least there’s that advantage.

    • NickJames says:

      Ha our office is on IE8! WIN FOR THE DOJ!

      • Peri Duncan says:

        Hey fellow DOJer! The DOJ agency I work for just upgraded to Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2007. Gotta stay on the cutting edge to fight crime.

    • Atlantan says:

      I work for a huge, international law firm and we’re still on IE7. It’s pretty laughable.

    • Rachacha says:

      My government office just finished an upgrade of our 12 year old computers running XP. We were still running IE6. I don’t know what to do with all of this extra room on my desk now that I got rid of my 17″ CRT monitor

    • Gehasst says:

      Some companies use internal sites that only work on IE 7. Can be a big undertaking to get things changed. Where I work, we were stuck on IE 6 until last summer due to an internal site only working on IE 6. If the machine is locked down, you are stuck with it. If not, then like me, you install Chrome or FF.

      Not everyone has a choice if they are using their work PC. if you are using a home PC, it shouldn’t even be an issue.

      • quail says:

        //chuckle// our local news station will show the weather radar with the browser revealed. It looks to be IE6, and every time they goof up and show it I ask myself why the community trusts these idiots with the news.

        I miss the ancient Opera browser that would allow you to choose how you viewed the page. With or without pictures, and they even had a retro setting that would let you see the page as text only with a green background like an old 1980s Commodore.

        • CrackedLCD says:

          Opera’s still around and just released version 12.00, which I’m using to comment on this post. :)

          I actually encounter some rendering problems with it and Chrome because so many sites still program exclusively for IE. I think a little payback is just fine for the damage Internet Explorer has done to progress online.

          Personally, I just don’t check out websites I build in old versions of *any* browser. If they’re broken in IE then that’s what you get for using such a crappy browser. Maybe when everyone gets on the same standards-compliant train, this will no longer be an issue.

      • nopirates says:

        if your company paid for a site that only works on IE7, then your company was ripped off by developers who were either lazy or stupid or both. there is NO excuse for that kind of garbage.

        • travel_nut says:

          My company pays $400/mo for access to a database that is only compatible with IE.

          It infuriates me. It’s bullshit. But we are in a very specialized industry and this database is crucial to our operations. No amount of begging the database admin will get them to make it compatible with other browsers. They know they have their users hooked and thus they don’t feel the need to do anything.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      Working at a major corp you’d certainly recognize. Luckily, I’m now running XP because they older stuff doesn’t support newer IE versions although it continuously nags you to upgrade. The very annoying thing to me are all the off-shored application coding where Sanjay in India spews out some boilerplate in M$ Insta-0-web-0-matic-abase. So, even though the company went to Firefox after the M$’s frivolous lawsuit, we have to use IE to run the aspx BS to do our jobs. Whatever happened to W3 compliance?

  5. lilspooky says:

    As a web developer, I fully support this!

  6. baltimoron says:

    I’m all for this. Not only is it a pain for web developers but it’s also a security risk for the user.

  7. Bladerunner says:

    It’s not really a tax, though, neh? More of a perfectly understandable and appropriate fee?

  8. scoosdad says:

    Good grief, I wonder what the tax would be using Netscape 4.0?

    I actually still keep a copy of that on my machine because it comes packaged with a relatively easy to use (and free) web page editor that I dust off occasionally when I need to do some simple stuff. Too lazy to go see what else is out there, I do it so seldom.

  9. Chongo says:

    Every web dev at my office loves this. The only down side is that if this were to take off and other sites use this idea, they would have to be made aware that a lot of people in large offices cannot control which browser they are using. The IT department usually locks down the workstations and does not allow any unauthorized program installs. I have to deal with this daily when I make sites, and it sucks more than anything.

    • baltimoron says:

      Well, anyone in a large office could likely just wait and make online purchases at home to avoid the tax.

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      As an IT person, we lock down the machines so people do not mess up their computers (which are the companies and not the employee’s) by going to websites unrelated to their job function. For some reason, people feel they own the computer and can install what ever they like and go to those wonderful sites that say they have a virus and install the wonderful malware software on the company computer.
      I can also say, that I would suggest not blaming your IT people on outdated software. Instead, blame the cheap bastards that have some out dated software that only runs with and out dated browser. Trust me, the company IT people would like nothing more than to not hear people whine about outdated software and try to fix software that’s not even supported by their creators.

      • Chongo says:

        I hear ya. I’m not even saying it’s a bad idea to lock out people (yes, I read /r/talesfromtechsupport and clientsfromhell as well, so I know how you feel!)

        I’m just saying that while as a web dev, I love the idea for purely selfish reasons… but if this idea were to take off and companies that offer business products did this… then it might not be fair to those workers who can’t upgrade to some other browser.

        • Conformist138 says:

          Well, if it’s business products, then the company should be paying for it. If the company gets mad that the employee had to make company purchases in a way that got them charged a surcharge, I assume it’s their own problem (“Yes, I told you that would happen, but you said your grandma forwarded you an email claiming Chrome is powered by witchcraft and you couldn’t let the IT dept take that risk!”). Not like the employee should be making personal purchases at work, anyway. That’s what home is for.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        +1000
        This
        You win.

        I work IT for a smallish bank. We have only a few hundred employees out there. I pull malware off of 2-5 Workstations a month, and that is with some pretty hefty web filtering.
        I explain to at least 5 people a week that they don’t need a google, bing, yahoo, or ask toolbar since there is a search feature built into the browser. They certainly don’t need all of them.
        We also just last year got off of IE6 and pushed IE8 to all workstations. We didn’t keep IE6 that long because IT wanted to. It cost over 50K to get all of our web based apps updated and purchased to be able to use a browser later than 6. It took some of our other software vendors moving to software that would not work with 6 to force the accountants to open the checkbooks. We still can’t upgrade to 9 without killing the primary application our tellers and personal bankers use.

      • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

        Umm… So you work in an incompetent IT group.
        I understand that 80% of users are stupid, but I also understand that 80% of IT is stupid.

        I work for a 30K person company in 10 different countries for manufacturing.
        Our IT locks down computers, but luckily you can easily hack the SAM file to get admin access on the computer to install anything you want.
        There are a bunch of good programs to use for business:
        Paint.net, PDFsam, virtual box (for very old manufacturing programs), imgburn, software for CMMs and scanners, notepad++, vlc player, PLC software, image resizer, adons for 3D engineering software, etc.

        People are not going to wait a month to, explain what the software is to 5 different people, wait for testing, wait for approval, then wait for someone to install it. That could take weeks.
        I can install it myself when needed.
        They use XP 64bit intead of Win7 so there are all kinds of driver hacks to get these computers to work, so I ghosted the computer in a working state so I can restore it if something goes wrong.
        Our IT cannot fix any problem, they will always resort to cloning instead of solving the problem.

    • Kuri says:

      Well, think of it this way, if you can make it work on Internet Explorer, you can make it work on anything.

    • kella says:

      Even a locked down machine will generally still allow portable apps (like http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable ) to work. Otherwise, make the purchase from home. If it’s a business purchase, well then, charge the 6.8% to the IT Department for refusing to perform standard maintenance.

      I’ve heard of companies that actually prefer to keep their employees on IE 6, because they don’t trust them to work instead of playing on Facebook. I wonder if they lock up the pens and paper, too.

  10. Kryndis says:

    Honestly, I think this is a dumb idea. The proper way to handle it is to just stop caring about how the site looks/functions in IE 7. Put up a banner saying that you no longer support the browser and any users are on their own if they have problems and be done with it. This is an attention grab, plain and simple.

    • MutantMonkey says:

      That would cut out potential business, which is generally a worse idea than an annoyance fee.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Well they would already lose my business by being arrogant assholes. At least this would save them the trouble and, apparently, noticeable costs.

        • Sarah of Get Cooking says:

          I disagree about the arrogance. Having to support outdated browsers costs money, while updating to a modern browser is free. They are charging some of that money to the people who force them to make their site workable on an unnecessarily old browser.

    • dangermike says:

      Just check the user agent string and if it shows IE 7, pop up a box or redirect the user to a page that says “please upgrade”

      • nishioka says:

        > redirect the user to a page that says “please upgrade”

        If they’re still using IE7 and have an upgrade path that is not obstructed by IT policy or hardware limitations, then a new version of Internet Explorer has been sitting in their Windows Update queue forever and they’ve refused to install it, and they’ve also spent the last 5 years ignoring “please upgrade” banners all over the internet. If you’re going to ignore Microsoft and every other website out there telling you that you need to upgrade, why would one more site telling you to upgrade make a difference?

        They’re right on the money with this one – people will pay attention when you threaten to hit them in the pocketbook for refusing to get with the times.

        • dangermike says:

          I don’t know… seems like redirecting them to a page saying “You can’t use our site with that browser” would be every bit as effective, and perhaps even moreso if there’s any chance that the user doesn’t notice this “tax”

  11. MeowMaximus says:

    Good! Maybe this will convince then to shift to Firefox. If you are a government employee, you lose, sorry.

    • Weekilter says:

      Firefox is a heaping pile of dog excreta. Never seen a browser that bogged down so easily and lagged.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        I agree. I used to love Firefox in its early days, as it took out the bloat that came from Netscape (and the old Mozilla Suite). Then Firefox got bloated, and became a memory-eating pig that wouldn’t release said memory when you closed it. I thought “man, what to do…”

        Then Google came out with Chrome. Problem solved.

        • Lt. Coke says:

          Then 2011 called and let you know that this isn’t really a problem for Firefox anymore. Go ahead, try it again sometime. I’ve got a fully functional copy of Adblock Plus here to entice you, unlike whatever watered down junk you get with Chrome. I’ve had Firefox open for..3-4 days now. 3 windows (the kids these days call them tab groups, and they’re actually different things, but ultimately it’s the same idea), ~30 tabs. 380MB of RAM (if that’s a problem for you, stop using computers from 2006

          tldr: It’s not the aughts anymore, Firefox doesn’t eat memory like a wild…memory hog, and there’s a feature called tab candy! Everyone loves candy.

    • trencherman says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. If you work for the State of TX, or for the Seton Hospital Network, you are out of luck on this.

      • Conformist138 says:

        No, because I doubt the state either prevents employees from having a more modern browser at home or forces them to make personal purchases at work.

  12. Amaras says:

    So I’m assuming that this “Tax” is going to be submitted to a government organization, or else its otherwise not enforceable as a mandatory tax.

  13. HogwartsProfessor says:

    At my exjob, the IT guy said I could install Firefox but he wouldn’t support it. The company wanted all of us to use IE and I hated it. I had to laugh as I said, “You won’t HAVE to support it.” (He wasn’t a Luddite or anything; he was just covering his ass.)

    I only use it now when a website says it won’t work in any other browser. It’s very rare, but it does sometimes happen when I’m filling out an application or something similar.

    • MutantMonkey says:

      Yeah, the only reason I use IE is for my companies SharePoint site. Chrome and FF seem to have issues with the login function.

      • nugatory says:

        I got the same sharepoint problem… I actually just browse the site like a network share and then word/excel/powerpoint to check the file out after I’ve opened it. That way I still don’t have to use IE.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      Yeah as the IT guy I have firefox and chrome on my machine but I also have IE8 because I have to for several of our business apps. We do make the other browsers available to our employees (we don’t allow them to download or install their own software but if they ask I will do it for them with a smile same day usually within 15 minutes.) We do this not only because we want to but because we have found that quite a few outside business sites actually run and work much better on Firefox or Chrome.

  14. thomwithanh says:

    I’ve turned down web design contracts from clients who insisted on legacy browser support. I had one guy contact me who said he wanted a website customized for Windows 98 running AOL/ IE 5.0. Had this been 1999 or 2000 it would have been a reasonable request …. but this was last year!

  15. Torchwood says:
  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Or, you could simply deny those members from making purchases, with a popup notifying them as to why, and wash your hands of it.

  17. impatientgirl says:

    That’s hilarious

  18. evilpete says:

    Is it legal to call it a tax?

  19. El_Fez says:

    16% surcharge on useing an old browser? If someone told me that I would have 100% savings. . . by buying my goods somewhere else.

  20. TBGBoodler says:

    As a government employee forced to use IE7, I love the messages that tell me to upgrade to a “modern” browser. Makes me feel like I live in the jazz age.

  21. MattO says:

    my work computer – IE 6 – yea…..I said it….6….

    upgrade to windows 7 brings it up to 9 i believe….but that hasnt happened yet.

  22. smo0 says:

    Would you believe there are still some sites out there that say YOU HAVE TO USE IE to see the content?
    In fact, my schedule for my job says that I cannot view some of the features unless I use IE.

    It’s disgusting.

  23. Kingsley says:

    Incredibly stupid. They could just put a wall sign with some language, maybe an upgrade link and not much else, when users browse there with IE7. Then, people could go to their other browser, or computer, or mobile. I really don’t care what priority they place on web development for old browsers.

  24. jp7570-1 says:

    Kogan must be modeling their pricing policies on RyanAir!

  25. Weekilter says:

    Assuming that this post by this Australian firm is legit it strikes me that this “surcharge” for using an older browser would it seems to me to be illegal to add an extra charge just for using an outdated browser..

  26. mbd says:

    I would take my business elsewhere. While I don’t use IE at all, no retailer is going to tell me what browser or version I can or can’t use on my computer. Publicity Stunt – Fail.

    I sometimes think that people in IT forget that the computer is nothing more than a tool to accomplish a task. If enough sites don’t work a user will eventually upgrade, but artificially blocking or interfering with them is just going to piss them off.

  27. sqeelar says:

    I tried to buy IE 7 on the Kogan website, but I can’t afford the postage from Oz to the US.

  28. iesika says:

    Am I the only one frightened by how many people are reporting that their government agencies are running something so full of KNOWN SECURITY HOLES. The DOJ is using IE7? Companies don’t use IE7, because when they do, people steal all their data! I don’t want people stealing data from the DOJ. That’s scary!

    • Anonymously says:

      But they haven’t had a chance to certify that IE8 is less sucky than IE7 in every possible, “i’m an IT control freak” way.

  29. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    So, if I were logging on their site with IE6, would I be charged a 200% tax? Personally, that would be well deserved IMHO. But as for their choices of “better browsers,” why is Safari in their mix?? That’s the principal reason why I went for an Android tablet over an iPad–no Safari here. Dolphin’s a nice browser, and hopefully Google will fix all the bugs in Android Chrome (which I’m using now on this tablet, but there are still issues with it, at least on this old Transformer of mine.)

  30. RedShirt says:

    It’s probably illegal to call it a tax instead of a fee since it isn’t actually a tax.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      It’s on the internet. Your local laws do not have jurisdiction over cyberspace tax laws. neenerneener

  31. incident_man says:

    It’s just mind boggling why any company or government agency would STILL be using any IE version, let alone anything older than IE9.

    The “My favourite browser is ……..and I use it because ………,” argument aside, using anything older than IE9 exposes a company’s customers and government agency computers to unnecessary risk.

    IE8 and below were retired for a reason: Their “security” features are too easy to defeat when compared to modern browsers. The only reasons why they’re still being used are

    1. The institutions using them are too lazy and/or cheap to pay someone to re-code their web and intranet sites, and
    2. Those home users are to naive to understand the full implications of using such insecure software.

    It’s like purposely not updating Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Windows, or your anti-virus software.

    For home or business users who don’t want to upgrade past Windows XP in order to use IE9, do yourselves and/or your customers a favour: Use another browser like Chromium, Opera or Seamonkey that CAN be upgraded to the latest version without having to have Windows 7.

    • SabreDC says:

      “1. The institutions using them are too lazy and/or cheap to pay someone to re-code their web and intranet sites, and”

      Well, when you start talking about government agencies, you have to consider the source of those funds. Government agencies are damned either way. Either they are outdated with old technologies or they are big government/wasting taxpayer funds by re-coding something.

  32. The Wyrm says:

    This is some crazy awesome viral marketing. I’d never heard of them before today, but I now know they’re an online electronics retailer.

  33. human_shield says:

    This is actually a good idea. It costs time and money to make websites work with that stupid browser.

  34. moonunitrappa says:

    Pure utter brilliance, but why stop there. I say tax IE users all together.

  35. teamplur says:

    Govt computers for the Navy and Marines all use IE7, and it’s not like we have a choice. Youtube is constantly reminding me of it, BTW. Oh, and these PCs were purchased with Win7 but are downgraded(or up, whatever you feel) to WinXP.