UK customers face disparity and confusion over the pricing of Microsoft Windows Vista, Computing Which? has discovered.
Windows Vista Home Premium has a recommended retail price of $240 (£125) in the US.
But to buy the same software in the UK would set consumers back £220 – almost twice as much.
However, Computing Which? found that buying the cheaper version from America and importing it to the UK was far from straightforward.
According to Microsoft, there are no restrictions preventing British customers purchasing from abroad.
But when researchers were unable to buy from Amazon’s US website, Amazon explained that Microsoft did not allow them to ship their products abroad.
UK customers could also be missing out on family discounts and other deals, worth savings of 60 per cent, which are currently only offered in North America.
In a recent test of Microsoft Vista, Computing Which? found that it wasn’t ‘revolutionary’ and already warned that it had implications for people’s time and their pockets.
Computing Which? Editor Abigail Waraker said: ‘Microsoft Vista is a universal product, but at this stage it appears that the American market is offered the best prices and deals.
‘We’re not aware of any practical reason why UK consumers should pay over the odds for the same product – it’s just industry benefiting at the expense of UK consumers.’