Consumer Group Calls for Probe of 'Rip-Off' iTunes

Apple's British iTunes customers are paying 17 percent more per song than other iTunes users. This is according to a statement made on Wednesday by a European consumer watch group - The Consumers' Association. They want Apple to lower the prices and bring it into line with it's other global stores.

Not too long ago, Apple launched its successful iTunes music store overseas (in June), slowly expanding its online music stores market share. The pricing was setup to be very similar to that used in the United Sates - 99c / song. In Germany and France songs are 99 euro cents per track, and 79 pence per track in the UK. The Consumers' Association claims that British iTunes customers are paying 17 percent more than other overseas countries (Germany, France), which they believe is unfair for British consumers to pay. Until sufficient evidence is produced that Apple is ripping off its British customers nothings going to happen.

What's odd about this story is that iTunes is in fact cheaper than a majority of its rivals online music store. When compared to Napster, iTunes is more than 20 percent cheaper. However, that said, Apple can't use the traditional argument / excuse for this - costs are specific to countries, and thus prices are; the operation is done online, and centrally. The argument doesn't hold for the "e-business" example. Until Apple starts making serious money on the store, it's unlikely to give in to any price pressure. That said, the EU might take interest in a similar manner to their investigations into car companies doing similar pricing schemes in the 90s.

View: More Information | Apple.com

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