The British Office of Fair Trading said today (Dec. 3) that it has referred to the European Commission a complaint that Apple’s iTunes is overcharging U.K. customers.
The move follows a consumer rights publication’s claims that iTunes charges British users almost 20% more than those in France and Germany. The publication “Which?” (then known as “Consumers’ Association”), wrote to the British government agency a few months earlier urging it to investigate iTunes for possible breaches of European competition rules.
“The OFT has decided that the European Commission is better placed to consider this matter, in particular as Apple iTunes operates in more than three EC Member States,” says the office in a statement.
iTunes launched in the United Kingdom, France and Germany on June 15. The U.K. version charges £0.79 ($1.51) per track, while those in the other territories charge €0.99 ($1.31). An iTunes store that went live in October and services Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain also charges €0.99 for each download.
Apple Computer declined to comment. A European Commission spokesperson could not be reached.