UK shoppers are paying
significantly more for technology products such as televisions and computers than people in the US, a consumer watchdog has found.
Which? compared the prices, excluding tax, of 13 identical products ranging from TVs and gaming consoles to headphones and security software, and found shoppers on this side of the Atlantic are getting a “raw deal”, often paying hundreds of pounds more for items.
The consumer rights group found that a Samsung television was £402 more expensive in the UK, and an Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop cost £194 more here than in the US.
It has also been revealed that a Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 are both £57 more expensive in the UK.
UK shoppers are also paying “over the odds” on digital goods, with a 12-month subscription to the imaging software Adobe Creative Cloud costing £114 more here than in the US.
Microsoft Office Professional digital software costs £236 in the US compared to £325 in the UK – a price difference of £89.
As a result Which? wants manufacturers to rectify the situation and explain to shoppers why they pay more in the UK.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: “UK consumers are getting a raw deal by paying up to hundreds of pounds more for the same tech products on sale in the US.
“Manufacturers should play fair and explain why consumers are paying more for buying in the UK.”
The watchdog is also calling on the UK Government to raise the threshold for import duty on goods bought online to the same as goods brought back from abroad, so shoppers can take advantage of cheaper goods on sale in the US.
The current threshold for customs duty for technology products bought online from a country outside the EU is currently £135, but travellers can bring home goods worth up to £390 without having to pay duty.
Consumers are also being advised to consider buying digital products in-store where possible, as items such as Microsoft Office were sold by the company at a fixed price but physical versions were sold by numerous retailers and more likely to be discounted.
Which? contacted the companies involved and asked if they could explain their transatlantic price differences. Some, such as Google, refused to comment while Amazon stated that there were “different operating costs in each country.”
Dr Desmond Doran, senior lecturer in operations and supply chain management at the University of Sussex, said: “It appears, to the poor consumer, that the likes of Apple simply regard the UK as a market where even higher profits can be achieved.”