Friday 31 October 2014

Irish shoppers paying over the odds for tech goods compared to US

Michael Staines

Published 28/07/2014 | 02:30

IRISH consumers are getting a "raw deal" by paying significantly more for technology products than US shoppers, a watchdog has reported.

UK consumer body 'Which?' compared the prices of a range of identical electronic products in Britain and the US and found that costs are significantly lower across the water.

A further probe by the Irish Independent found Irish shoppers are also paying more, as the prices of 12 products and digital goods, all of which can be purchased in Ireland online direct from the manufacturer, were examined.

All 12 products were priced on both the Irish and the US presence of each manufacturer's online store.

After tax was excluded it became clear that Irish shoppers are paying significantly more for some gadgets than their American counterparts – with price differences running from under €10 to over €150

Anyone looking to buy a 'Macbook Pro 13" 2.6Gz' can expect to spend over €160 more here than in the US with an iPhone 5s costing €85 extra.

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are both nearly €30 cheaper in the US.

Explain

'Which?' executive director, Richard Lloyd, said "manufacturers should play fair and explain" to consumers why they are paying more in some instances when purchasing outside the US.

Michael Kilcoyne of the Consumers' Association of Ireland also urged manufacturers to offer explanations.

"I know other countries will have bigger markets and bigger populations but clearly these guys don't value the Irish consumer and see us as a soft touch," he said.

It is not just technology products that are more expensive with Irish consumers also paying more for digital goods.

A 12 month subscription for either 'Adobe Creative Cloud' or 'Microsoft Office Professional' will cost shoppers around €120 more in Ireland.

"I would always say to consumers that they should shop around. Sometimes you can get even better value in a store than if you buy direct online," said Mr Kilcoyne.

He said he would also support calls for the Government to raise the current tax threshold on online purchases so that shoppers can take advantage of the cheaper goods on sale in the US.

Currently goods over the value of €22 bought online from outside the EU are subject to Irish VAT charges.

As an adult travelling outside of the EU however, you are allowed to bring home goods of up to €430 without incurring any taxes.

Responding to the 'Which?' survey, a Microsoft spokeswoman said: "Pricing varies by region and is dependent on a variety of specific factors including, but not limited to, exchange rate, local taxes, duties, local market conditions and retailer pricing decisions."

Irish Independent

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