Watch out for American companies cashing in on downloadable software

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Have your say

Each week former trading standards officer Richard Thomson answers your questions.

Q I tried to buy downloadable money management software over the internet at the advertised US price. When I placed the order the site then demanded I pay a higher UK price. Isn’t this illegal?

KR (internet)

A Unfortunately not. A supplier has the right to decide what price to charge in any particular market. Because US-based companies know that they can get away with charging consumers more in the UK than their domestic customers, that’s precisely what they do.

In some cases the higher price on overseas purchases covers import duties, postage, and packaging. But in your case the additional cost is purely profiteering, since there are no additional costs arising from downloadable software.

Q My fiancée was rather taken by a ring she saw on display in an antique jeweller’s shop window. Unfortunately it was not priced, and when I went back later I was too embarrassed to go in and ask. Isn’t there some law that says everything in a shop window has to be priced?

JMcB (internet)

A Indeed there is. But there are some exceptions. Antique shops and jewellers do not have to display a price for items valued over £3,000.

Now you’ve got a price guideline, I’ll leave you to be the judge whether your wallet will take the hit.

Q I’ve got an ongoing allergic skin condition and any contact with washing powers, capsules, or tablets can trigger a serious bout of psoriasis. I can’t even remove the packaging on laundry tablets without wearing gloves. Do you know of any natural laundry product, rather than chemical detergents?

PM (internet)

A Modern detergents can play havoc with skin allergy sufferers.

Even the chemical fragrances which are used to make conventional laundry washing products appear fresh and friendly can play havoc with sensitive skins.

To preserve my independence I can’t really endorse any product or service I haven’t tried and tested personally. Because of your particular problem I’m willing to make an exception.

I suggest you try Earth Friendly Products (EFP) clear laundry liquid.

It’s made from purely natural plant extracts which is ideal for people who suffer from allergies.

Users of the skin-friendly EFP range of products, including baby soap, swear by them.

It’s claimed they work just as efficiently as chemical based powders and liquids, and because you use less of the product for each wash load, they work out cheaper too.

A 50-wash bottle of EFP allergy-busting clear laundry liquid costs £7.65.

You can buy it from health shops, direct by post from or call 01892 616871.


Richard Thomson is a former trading standards officer with many years experience. Wherever possible he will try to provide practical assistance. Unfortunately he cannot guarantee to respond to every letter or e-mail. Richard Thomson welcomes letters from readers on consumer issues. Replies are intended to give general help or advice, not a complete statement of law.