A British consumer rights body is accusing Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store of anti-competitive practices in the United Kingdom.
LONDON -- A British consumer rights body is accusing Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store of anti-competitive practices in the United Kingdom.
The London-based Consumers' Assn. (CA) says it wrote to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on Sept. 15 asking it to investigate iTunes for possible violation of European competition rules.
The CA claims that Apple's download service charges British users almost 20% more than those in France or Germany. While iTunes charges U.K.-based customers £0.79 ($1.42) to download one track, customers with addresses and payment details in France or Germany pay only 0.99 euros ($0.96), the group says.
"CA has submitted a letter of complaint to the OFT urging them to investigate what appears to be anti-competitive and discriminatory behavior by iTunes against U.K. consumers," says a CA spokesman. "There appears to be considerable evidence that the iTunes set up is prejudiced against the U.K. 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. "
An Apple Computer spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Since launching in the United Kingdom, Germany and France on June 15, iTunes Music Store has established itself as the leading download service in those territories. The computer giant recently announced that its European services had sold 5 million downloads in the first 10 weeks of launch.