A British consumer rights organization is accusing Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store of anti-competitive practices in the United Kingdom.

A British consumer rights organization is accusing Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store of anti-competitive practices in the United Kingdom.

The London-based Consumers' Assn. (CA) says it has written to the British Office of Fair Trading (OFT) asking it to investigate iTunes for possible breaches of European competition rules.

The group claims that Apple's download service charges British users almost 20% more than customers in France or Germany.

The CA claims that 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 ($0.96).

"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 OFT spokesman confirms that the government agency has received the document.

"We have received the letter of complaint. It's a matter which we are considering, and we are monitoring carefully developments in the electronic distribution and sales of music," says the spokesman.

An Apple spokesman could not be immediately 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. Apple recently announced that its European services had sold 5 million downloads in the first 10 weeks of launch.