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The prices some companies think they can charge for the simplest gadgets make Chris Finnamore's blood boil. Do yourself a favour - shop around and stop getting ripped off by the technopolies
It's time. It's time to strike a blow for the consumer. You could argue that, as the editor of Computer Shopper, my raison d'être is to get the best value for my readers. You would be right, but there exist in this world such flagrant rip-offs that a rant is the only appropriate way to expose them.
I'm not talking about PPI. I'm not talking about extended warranties, although God knows you should avoid those. I'm talking about the mundane technology essentials without which our lives would grind to a halt. The Micro USB cable. The USB power adaptor. The laptop power lead.
The prices some companies think they can charge for these simple bits of kit are just absurd. Apple is the most obvious example. Want a USB charging plug for your iPhone? You know, the bit of plastic with the USB socket you plug into the mains? That'll be £15. Amazon is even worse, brazenly attempting to flog you a Kindle Fire charger plug for £18 and a simply outrageous £10 for a "PowerFast USB Cable" (which looks like a standard Micro USB cable to me) to plug into it. Go into PC World to buy a figure-of-eight laptop power cable and you'll walk out £13 worse off.
Why in the name of fiscal sanity would anyone pay this much? How can a replacement tablet charger come to a quarter of the price of the tablet itself? What I find particularly irksome is that this is all just generic kit. The iPhone charger is a standard 1W version which you can buy for £2.50 online. Even the more powerful 2W chargers, such as those you need to charge a tablet, are a fiver. No-one should pay more than £2 for a Micro USB cable or a simple laptop lead.
All this stuff is based on standards, which means that, as long as you do some basic checks such as making sure a charger can provide enough current for your device, it will work fine. Don't just buy the "official" replacement; shop around and don’t make Jeff Bezos any richer than he already is.
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