UK rip-off culture

According to MacMinute quoting MacWorld UK, Apple is accused of 'ripping-off' the British customers with its European Music Store:

"The complaint relates to how much Apple charges UK iTunes customers for tracks - 79p, approximately 1.2 Euros. But Apple's French and German customers are charged just 0.99 Euros - a 20 per cent difference for an identical service." Apple's response thus far to the matter is that they price songs differently depending the "underlying economic model in each country." CA leader Phil Evans said in the story: "There appears to be considerable evidence that the iTunes set up is prejudiced against the UK public and distorts the very basis of the single market. If the OFT agrees it will be another example of the rip-off culture that the British public are often victims of."

As much as I dislike the discrepancies in Apple's prices in Europe, I can't prevent myself to find ironical that the country which has done whatever it takes to protect its interests vs. Europe and keep the best possible relationship with the US, is being ripped-off by its economical raw model. I still wonder how long it will take for the UK to join the Euroland.

5 Comments

The UK has a far better track record implementing EU directives into national laws than supposedly EU stalwarts France and Germany, not to speak of how these two countries blew off the so-called stability pact (ask the Dutch how they feel about that). Or did "Euroland" mean the Euro currency zone? (I don't see what it would have to do with the matter at hand.)

OK, I knew I was a bit too polemic. That the UK is better than France at implementing directives has nothing to do with the point I was trying to make, neither has the stability pact. I was just reacting to this quote that this should be a "single market" while 1) since Margaret Thatcher the UK has tried to reduce its share to the EU budget, 2) it refuses to join the Euroland (yes, it's about the currency) but complains when prices are higher in British Pounds.

And to further nail my clumsiness, I'm quoting one guy, so I should not generalize this to the entire country. It's as if someone would tell me that I can't say anything about the UK because the French government does not implement the EU directives on time or respect the stability pact ;-).

François, there's a lot to be said about the British model that's flawed, but their lack of participation in Euroland is low down on the list.

They are involved in Europe, just because they're vacillating over the currency it shouldn't make the point about a *single market* less important. Olivier makes some salient points in that regard, and -for example- if Euroland farm subsidies is forward thinking, then forgive me, that does not bode well.

Sure, parity in the Euro abolishes the kind of things the U.K. is witnessing with the current exchange rate. But, as you've mentioned before -I think- look at the discrepancy over the Euro prices and the U.S. dollar for Apple goods.

I consider the Euro effect a handy corrective to prevent *some* corporations taking overt advantage. There's no irony here, look over the collapse of the Bretton Woods system.

There's still strong price disparity within the Euro zone:
http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displayStory.cfm?story_ID=2146012&subjectid=348930

To give some personal anecdotal evidence, produce and cinema tickets are almost twice cheaper in Portugal (where I live) than in France (where I come from), while yogurts are way more expensive.

Moreover, you don't need to have a common currency to be part of a common market, and there's no reason why the UK wouldn't be considered a full member of Europe in economic terms (forex costs aside, besides the pound/euro exchange rate has been pretty stable as of late). François, I think you're grasping at straws here!

However, the reality of Europe, Euro or not, is that it's still a collection of national markets. Even the Euro itself has ways to go, as anyone who tried to cash a Euro check from a bank in another country can witness (it's a manual and outrageously expensive process).

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