Apple In Trouble For Overcharging Consumers Down Under
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
America has a bit of a love affair with all-things Apple. Not only are these products seen as a status symbol, a piece of somewhat affordable luxury, they’re also quickly adopted and often set the standard by which other products are judged.
One could assume, however, that the iPhone maker doesn’t get the same kind of reception in other parts of the world.
For instance, in the last 12-months, Apple has come under scrutiny from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for their lack of LTE support in the Land Down Under and has been chided by officials for leaving people stranded in the middle of the desert.
These complaints are nothing new, of course. The Australian House of Representatives began investigating these companies last July to determine if their hardware and software offerings cost Australians more money than any one else.
According to the BBC, each of these companies have tried to work with the House of Representatives via written statements. Now, they’re being asked to deal with them in person at a hearing on March 22.
According to Ed Husic, a member of Australia’s Parliament, the members running the IT Pricing Inquiry have only summonsed these companies because they’ve so far refused to give satisfying answers to these contradicting prices— and they aren’t the only ones.
“These firms should have cooperated and been prepared to be more open and transparent about their pricing approaches,” said Husic, according to Kotaku Australia. “Adobe, Apple and Microsoft are just a few firms that have continually defied the public’s call for answers and refused to appear before the IT Pricing Inquiry.”
Husic has said the prices for computers and televisions, specifically, have fallen in Australia by 14% since the investigation began. Yet, there’s still plenty of room for these prices to fall. Some estimates show that Australians can pay up to 60 percent more for these electronic goods than Americans.
“Given the widespread use of IT across businesses and the community, the prices paid for hardware and software can have a major commercial and economic impact,” said Husic.
Husic has been worked up about these price disparities for a few years, even asking to meet with Apple’s Australian managing director, Tony King, in 2011. Husic was only able to get this meeting after King didn’t show up to a previously scheduled appointment.
According to a 2011 MacRumors piece, the exchange rate was said to be responsible for some of the disparity in prices. A new MacBook Air at the time cost 15 percent more in Australia, while Adobe’s CS5.5 Design Premium cost a whopping 75 percent more Down Under than in the States.
According to an Australian Financial Review piece from July, Apple is said to have blamed these high prices on the high cost of doing business in Australia, saying taxes, warranties and copyrights are all to blame for driving prices higher.