Computer Video fair-pricing campaign and petition

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Join our fair-pricing petition
Imagine this scenario. You're in a local High Street shop. You see someone buy exactly what you want. And, they pay a very fair price. You rush to the counter and ask if there are any left.

"Only one", says the shop assistant, "but first, tell me your nationality".
"What's that got to do with anything?"
"Rules are rules", says he, "Where are you from?"
"The UK, of course, just like you!".
"Ah, UK, is it? Well, that'll be £500."
"But you only charged him £350!"

"Of course I did. He's American. They expect to get everything cheap, and won't pay any more than that. I'd never sell anything to Americans if I charged them over-the-top. You and I aren't like that, though, are we? We don't complain. So, you're going to have to pay what I decide."

"Well, if that's your attitude, I'll take my custom elsewhere!"
"Don't bother, you'll only be wasting your time".
"How come?"
"Me and the other UK shopkeepers have got an agreement with the manufacturers and distributors - so everyone else will charge you the UK price as well. Do you want this one? It's the last I've got, and I'm not sure I'll be able to get any more at such a good price. Go on, you know you want it".
"Alright then. Do you take credit cards?"
"Of course, we do, but that'll be another two per cent".

Okay, this little scene is pure fiction, and couldn't happen. But, in global terms, it's happening every day. Whether it's camcorders, cars, computer components, connectivity or cornflakes, we in the UK are paying over the odds for most things. And, frankly, I've never seen a scrap of evidence that convinced me that there
was a valid reason for it.

High prices are not a good thing, not even for the profiteers who think they are being clever by fleecing us. All the evidence I've seen points to the fact that artificially high prices - for non-food items, anyway - actually stunt market growth and actually mean that the manufacturers and sellers end up making lower profits than they could do.

While recognising that most of us do eat cornflakes and drive cars, to my mind, the most seriously over-the-top prices - as they affect the hobbies and livelihood of readers of this magazine - are for high-speed Internet connections, camcorders, video editing in/out cards and video editing software. I blame BT for the first, and the manufacturers, distributors and retailers for the others. Actually, no, I blame you, and me, and everyone else in the UK who puts up with this situation. Hence, the petition below. If you don't sign it, you've got no one else but yourself to blame for being ripped off.

Bob Crabtree, Editor, Computer Video

Read through the following text we have prepared. Then, if you agree with it, follow the steps below.

"In the UK, prices of high-speed Internet connectivity and of camcorders,
video editing in/out cards and video editing software are - without good
reason - much more expensive than in most other Western nations, notably
the USA.

More than being unfair, excessive prices for high-speed Internet
connections limit the uptake of such services. This severely reduces the
usefulness and usability of the Internet to UK consumers and businesses,
and to government, education and other non-profit organisations. This, in
turn, greatly reduces the nation's ability to compete in the
rapidly-developing global marketplace for goods and services - now and in
the future.

Unreasonably high pricing for camcorders, video editing in/out cards and
video editing software puts these goods completely out of reach of many
consumers and non-profit organisations. It also limits their take up among
other would-be purchasers - including the producers, and would-be producers,
of TV programmes who, in this age of global digital TV broadcasting,
should be striving to place their output not just locally but also on the
world market."

Step One
Copy the text above. And click here to send an e-mail to the editor of Computer Video Magazine, Bob Crabtree. Paste the text into the body of the e-mail and add your name after it.

Step Two
Copy the text above and print it out. Add your name and address and send the completed letter to: The Minister for Trade Competitiveness, House Of Commons, London, SW1A OPW.

Thanks for your support! See Computer Video magazine for the latest on how the campaign is going


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