Rip off Britain

  Red Devil 11:46 17 Nov 2005

OK, so I'm looking to buy Macromedia Studio 8.

I check Macromedia's site and their UK store will allow me to download the product for £699 ex VAT.

Out of curiosity I checked their worldwide and North American online stores and the product is available for $999. At the current exchange rate that makes it £580!!

So how can they justify the extra £119 price hike just because I live in the UK?

After all, the UK price is excluding VAT so they can't claim that the UK price is so high because of VAT, local sales tax or however they wan't to clasify it.

Now the question. Would I be breaking the law if I bought the product from their US online store to take advantage of the cheaper price?

I've done this before (though not paid as much as Studio 8 is likely to cost me) with other retailers - including Symantec - and, as soon as I enter that I live in the UK, I've still been allowed to buy the product at the cheaper US price but been informed that VAT at 17.5% would have to be added to the overall cost of the product.

After all, why pay £699+VAT for a product if I COULD legally buy the product for £580+VAT?


  jimmybond 12:18 17 Nov 2005

I'm sure that you wouldn't be breaking the law (although whether you can do this is another matter - I'm sure they'll have the angles covered here, if possible).
It's a sad fact of life that this will always happen in the UK, as we're an 'easy target'.

The usual cop out by the manufacturers of 'market forces' is as patronising as it is pathetic.

Some people here will try to justify it by saying that 'you're free to leave the UK via the exit door'. Why you should have to is another matter.

  Red Devil 12:24 17 Nov 2005

They certainly have their angles covered on the Macromedia website.

I tried buying from their worldwide store. When I went to check out one of the required fields is region/country. Guess which country isn't listed amongst the list of countries from which you can buy?

If you live in the UK you can only buy from UK store - at £699+VAT.

  Stuartli 13:51 17 Nov 2005

It's not strictly Rip Off Britain but rather Certain Rip Off Companies.

The over inflated prices for electronic products, household appliances, clothes, hi-fi, photographic products and many other types of goods of a few years back have been stemmed and, in fact, are very much cheaper in real terms.

  jimmybond 14:05 17 Nov 2005

wasn't Apples 'I-Tunes' reported to the Office of fair trading earlier this year, as they're charging UK users 20% more than France/Germany.
The only possible reason being that 'they can get away with it'.

  ventanas 15:58 17 Nov 2005

Macromedia are not alone in this. Check out the difference in Corel's prices for the UK and USA. As already stated, if you live in the UK you will probably be barred from ordering from the US site. There was a long discussion on here a few months back about this. You may be able to find it if you search.

  Sans le Sou 16:02 17 Nov 2005

We have to pay more in the UK because we are subsidising our US "cousins", we are a complete pushover here when it comes to consumer rights. Manufacturers are wary of the strong American consumer power.

  spuds 16:29 17 Nov 2005

The PCA forum did a similar long discussion on the difference between UK and USA prices. I think the forum editor was going to look into it more deeply. Not sure what happened after that, or where that posting is now.

If you did manage to get the USA version, I think that any support would need to be provided from Stateside or a forum, UK provider may or will refuse to help.

  ventanas 16:52 17 Nov 2005
  TOPCAT® 17:55 17 Nov 2005

on the FE's thread concerning Corel - click here - that the US server didn't allow a UK consumer to download that programme. This ensured he/she had to buy from the UK.

Something to do with "market forces" amongst other things! TC.

  Forum Editor 17:58 17 Nov 2005

that we pay higher prices in the UK because we are subsidising our American 'cousins' (whoever they are) is complete rubbish. A quick look at the relative sizes of the two markets would suffice to show you that wouldn't work in a million years.

The reason that a US site may not sell to a UK resident is that all american countries who sell to residents of the EU have to make a choice. They can either sell direct, and charge VAT at the applicable national rate - and then send the money to that country's customs and excise department, or - and this is the way that many companies do it - the american company may nominate an EU country which they wish to be their VAT taxation base. They can then sell direct to any resident of any EU country, and charge the VAT rate of the country they have nominated as their tax base. The tax collected is them remitted to that country's customs & excise department.

A third option - and this is the one adopted by Macromedia - is for the American company to set up a trading subsidiary in one of the EU countries, or in all of them. They can then sell directly to each country's residents, and be liable for VAT in that country.

That's the explanation behind american companies who won't sell to Europe from their american sites, but it isn't an explanation for the big difference in costs. When I originally contacted Macromedia about this they told me that operating costs were higher in the UK than in America - which may well be true - but it wasn't an acceptable explanation as far as I am concerned. Software that is downloaded from a server only has to be uploaded to that server once. Thereafter, the operating costs involved in selling downloads are minimal, and in my opinion cannot possibly account for the diferences in costs - after all, the american company uploads the self-same software, and does it once only as well.

I suspect that I haven't got the full story, and I shall keep quietly plugging away at this until I have.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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