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Why do prices vary widely between UK and French websites?

I cannot be the only person in France to have noticed the sudden massive hike in prices charged between UK and French websites. Suddenly loads of UK online companies have their own French website, which charges in euros, naturally.

The sting is that these companies have made it impossible to make an order from France and pay in sterling and the price hike can be as high as 40%.

When I queried this with one company, I was told that the euro price was calculated at the beginning of the season (clothes, I presume in Spring). Now that the Pound is almost equal to the Euro, there should be only a slight difference in prices, but there is not.

For instance, I have just tried to place an order on GAP for a sweatshirt. The price on the UK site is £38.47, but the price on their EU website is €52.96.

They even say at the checkout that although the price is displayed in euros, the charge will be made in sterling depending on the current exchange rate. I have just emailed them to find out what this is going to be.

Until recently, I could easily order on a UK website for delivery to France and pay in sterling, but all of a sudden I am blocked and transferred to the French website, where prices are inflated. Is this a case of trying to make a fast buck or am I missing something?

Mrs J WALKER, by email

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