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PC builders are being forced to add surcharges due to rocketing memory prices. London-based Carrera this week started adding as much as £30 to lower-end PCs, up to £60 for PCs with 128MB DRAM and £280 for higher-end boxes such as servers, on top of its advertised prices. Panrix and Mesh are also upping prices, and Dan Technology is believed to be doing the same, according to industry sources. Colin Collier, Carrera MD, said: "We tried not to pass on any price increases until it was absolutely necessary." However, he said the market had reached a point where prices had to go up. His advice was: "If anyone is thinking of buying any kit that contains memory in the next three months, get on the phone and order now." One source described the surcharge as "a bold move", but Collier said he believed many PC builders would have to follow suit. Today Panrix started adding surcharges of £50 and £25 on 128MB and 64MB upgrades respectively. It said it would make a decision on surcharges to advertised prices by the end of the week. Simon Panesar, Panrix general manager, said he had received forecasts of another 15 to 20 per cent increase in memory prices within the next three to four weeks. Memory prices have more than doubled in the last six weeks. In the first week of August, a 128MB module cost £63 and 64MB module cost £32. Since then, those prices have more than doubled, and companies were today being quoted £130 and £65 respectively. These price jumps have played havoc with businesses who rely on brokers for buying memory "just in time", and who do not keep memory stocks. And the fact that there are memory shortages is driving the price up even further. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said advertisers were within their rights to add extras to advertised prices in these circumstances. An ASA representative said: "We would expect the advertisement to be placed in good faith. "But if the company is going to repeat the ad, we would expect them to amend it with the new price at the first opportunity." ®

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