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BPI forces CD Wow to drop price surcharge claims

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The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has won an injunction ordering Internet retailer CD Wow to drop claims that it had been forced by the UK record industry to raise CD prices.

CD Wow has given an undertaking to the court that it will not make any more such claims. The case returns to court on March 1.

At a hearing yesterday CD Wow's barrister "agreed with the Judge that CD Wow had not had to increase prices and that whether or not CD Wow charged more for CDs was a matter for the internet retailer alone," the BPI said in a statement.

The BPI is the main trade association for the UK's record business. Last month CD Wow stopped selling CDs imported from Hong Kong, following an out-of-court settlement with the BPI. The company raised CD prices by £2 to £10.99, as a consequence.

But yesterday, Feb 3, it reduced prices back again to £8.99. In an email to customers, the etailer said:

We've been working our little cotton socks off to source our chart albums within the EU at the lowest possible price and cutting our margins even more. There have been a few cutbacks in the office, I'm working out of the YMCA and using an etch-a-sketch as my PC was sold.

The BPI had begun legal action against CD Wow over so-called parallel importing, arguing that the etailer's activities hurt the actions of other retailers who sourced their CDs from official, and more expensive, distributors within the EU.

In emails sent to customers on January 22, CD Wow wrote:

Dear Member,

The UK Major record companies through their mouth piece the BPI have unfortunately restricted the UK and Irish consumers right to enjoy the freedom of the World Wide Web.

As from this weekend, any CD ordered for delivery to the UK and Ireland will incur a surcharge as we are only able to deliver CDs manufactured within the EU (more expensive).

Delivery to the rest of the world will not be affected.

You only have a few days left - so order now! ®

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