London - British families are paying hundreds of pounds more for the latest technology as global electronics giants see the UK as a “Treasure Island”.

The biggest difference was on a top-of-the-range Samsung TV, which was £755 (about R14 000) more expensive than in the US, according to research by Which?

It compared prices in Britain to the States and found the huge mark-ups stretch to big brand laptops, tablets and even software and music streaming services.

For example, an Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop was £355 more expensive here, while the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games consoles were £95 more.

Which? found Amazon is charging UK consumers about £88 more for its Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in 16GB tablet and eReader. Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is £54 more.

The Garmin 2497LMT satnav is £66 more expensive here and the Beats Wireless headphones are £72 more at £250.

Consumers in Britain are effectively blocked from buying these goods more cheaply over the web and having them sent to the UK because postal costs can be high, and there are import duties on electronics products bought through websites based in the US which will reduce the value of any saving.

The threshold before import duty is imposed on goods bought online is £135 – much lower than the £390 figure if the same consumer buys the goods themselves while abroad.

Which? also found mark-ups on software and digital services. For example, music streaming service Spotify charges British customers £120 a year, but £71 in California. Microsoft and Norton also punish consumers with higher bills.

Part of the price difference can be explained by the fact the UK has a high VAT rate of 20 percent. The figure in California is 8.41 percent on physical goods and zero on digital services or products.

Which? wants the government to raise the threshold for import duty on goods bought online to the same as that placed on goods brought back from abroad. - Daily Mail