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OFT Defends Price-Cutting Dealers

 
Published in Personal Computer News #053

OFT Defends Price Cutting Dealers

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had laid down the law on micro prices - but don't expect a free-for-all in the shops.

The OFT sought and received an undertaking from Apple UK that it wouldn't discriminate against price-cutting dealers. This action was the result of a complaint from C/WP, a former Apple dealer; but both Apple and C/WP were last week keen to discuss the suggestion that the OFT has given dealers a charter to slash prices.

Apple maintains that the OFT has merely re-stated the existing legal position and that its own undertaking re-states its policy. But C/WP says that when Apple ceased to supply it last year "our company was nearly obliterated," and that Apple's decision was based on C/WP's discounting.

Apple's Mike Spring said: "I don't really want to discuss our relationship with CW/P," but he added, "There were many factors involved."

"It's not been our objective to force prices down," said C/WP's Robin Adda. "But if market forces suggest a price, why should the customer have to pay more for a product, and why should the retailer have a manufacturer dictating to him?"

He said that the margin on Apple products made price-cutting a reasonable tactic but added a general comment: "Retail prices continue to be absurdly inflated."

The company is also attacking ACT through the OFT, and it is making no secret of the fact that it would like to be an Apricot dealer - but ACT has not so far shown any sign that it will take up C/WP's offer.

Peter Worlock