Why do I have to pay more than advertised as a European user


#1

Ok this is a new account, I’m mostly a lurker but still I have been an avid user for over a year now. I play most of the games on my OnePlus Android Phone and thus buy my games through the Choice Of Games LLC account in the Google Play Store.

Now first of all I like these kind of games and I don’t mind paying for them. However after consecutively paying more for my games then other people time and time again I’m starting to get annoyed by it which leads to my creating this account and posting this topic.

For example Sixth Grade Detective, I open in it chrome, through the website and it says ‘Buy it now for $2.99’ great I think. I download the app, and now all of a sudden in the app I need to buy € 3,41 which amounts to $3.82 which means I need to pay almost 25% more! In steam I need to pay even €3,99! This is really offputting, I could understand $3,00 to €3,00 as lazy behaviour.

Now I work fulltime and got the money to spare so it’s not really that I’m whining about paying more. It is more the unfair treatment as a European customer.

It is ofcourse completely possible that I miss something (mark ups and stuff like that) but since I could not find any further information. Can someone please clarify these price discrepancies.

Thank you in advance for your time,
Yippie


#2

It’s a problem I have too.

It’s not Choice of Games fault. I don’t think they were even aware of it, until I mentioned it, years ago.

It’s likely something they have absolutely no control over. I imagine they just set the dollar price, and the price in other countries is set by whatever platform they’re selling through. There’s probably tax on that which might be bumping up the price. I’m not sure.

I found that the Google Chrome store is generally cheapest. The Chrome Store is for playing games in your web browser, and is different from the Google Play store.

A Study in Steampunk, for instance is:
£2.49 on Google Chrome,
£3.18 on Google Play
£2.79 on Steam.
£2.65 on Amazon.co.uk.
£2.99 on Itunes

(Incidentally the US price is $3.99 and currency converter has that come out at £2.74 just now).


#3

There is a 25% VAT that the EU has set on electronic goods and services, I believe.

If you have a squarespace account, that has the extra tax mounted on top, Twitch subscriptions are closer to $7 than $5 in the EU, and so on and so forth. The VAT is not something that the storefronts or CoG can control.

So if you are within the EU area, that would explain the extra cost. It is usually not very well advertised as coming on top of everything. Other regions may have similar taxes.


#4

Ok, thank you for clarification.

As a personal preference I don’t like to play on PC. My go-to devices tend to be my android phone and tablet. It’s a shame to see us get shafted like this. Hopefully in the future they will open up a webshop, but for now I’ll guess things stay the way we are.

Thank you for taking the time to clarify.


#5

Correct, except that it isn’t a uniform 25% the actual rate depends on which member state you’re in. For example here in the Netherlands it’s 21%. The Nordic countries usually have the highest tariffs (they also give the most for it in return, but that’s another discussion)
The COG webstore has, or should have, signed up with the VOES program, while the major online distributors usually handle things for both sellers and buyers themselves, behind the scenes.
That said many could be more transparent up front to the customer about that nasty little surprise, then again that’s advertising for you.

Personally I’m arguing for applying a lower VAT rate to digital entertainment under the bread and circuses line of thought, but don’t expect that to gain much traction anytime soon in the austerity plagued mess that the EU and most of its member-states currently are.
Not that such a lower tariff would exempt you from actually paying it, or the nasty little surprise most major online retailers currently make it for unsuspecting EU customers.

Yup, another disingenuous tactic major online suppliers use that is mostly out of our control (I suppose one could theoretically vote with the wallet here, but who does that in practice? And with some major players it’s practically impossible to avoid them anyway) is the dreaded direct Dollar to Euro conversion, if a digital product is $3.99 in the US you can bet they’re going to sell it in the EU for 3.99 Euro irrespective of the exchange rate, unless the Euro happens to be valued below the US Dollar, of course.


#6

Choice of Games do sell their games on their website. (And if you’ve an internet connection on your phone you can play via your browser there).

However they only sell in dollars. For me, that means I have to pay a £1.50 (I believe it is now) foreign currency transaction fee. And because I can’t bulk buy on their website, that fee would be added for every single purchase. Which makes it really prohibitive.

I’m not sure about the Euro costs, though as I’ve said above, the difference between the dollar price, and the pound price, using a current currency converter, is just a few pennies.

Looking at Steam, the Price for Sixth Grade Detective is $3.99 not $2.99. (You can check at http://store.steampowered.com/app/428040/?cc=us) The sale’s over. It’s still certainly not fair because $3.99 and €3.99 is not an even exchange, but it’s not quite as unfair as you not getting the sale price.

I learned something cool today incidentally. You can see the price of a steam game in various countries by finishing the url with /?cc=US (or whatever the code for the country you want to see is). So for US (dollars), Ireland (euro), and UK (pound) it’s.


#7

I suppose I’m lucky to be using the pound not the euro then. That definitely sounds extremely unfair, and does seem to be what Steam’s doing. in pricing the games


#8

Especially considering that Europe is still poorer, on average, than the US is, even if the US has a more unequal distribution of said wealth than most EU countries.


#9

I get your vibe and I certainly appreciate the time you’ve taken with going into this much detail. Unfortunately Choice of Games so far only allows use of creditcard, which I do not have and refuse to get since it won’t get used much.

For my personal situation it would be ideal if I could pay through for example PayPal and get access to a .apk file so I can install it on my android device of choice. Ofcourse I understand the security risks of this like piracy for example.


#10

Doesn’t paypal charge a transaction fee though? Which would bump up the price and make things not quite as cheap anyway?


#11

Ha! Just you wait till after the Brexit, should the SNP get its way. :smiling_imp:


#12

This issue has been something that Euro customers have been dealing with since the EU formation. I remember European friends complaining about WoW account prices being different and the same exact convo echoing over the years.

With Steam, they used to get around the price differences through proxies but the retailers have gotten smart to this and have made sure the price differentials do take effect.


#13

The 1 one 1 Dollar to Euro conversion, yes. The VAT on “digital goods” is only since 2015.
Also not since EU formation (1992), since the adoption of the Euro in 2002, although some European currencies did get shafted by corporate America before that.


#14

Maybe I did not make myself clear: Non-equal prices (your dollar-to-home_currency conversion) is something that has been complained about by Europeans since I began gaming in the 1990’s. The VAT issue came about later but there has always been complaints about “fees and conversion differences” in Everquest which was my first computer gaming experience.

Sorry for any confusion.


#15

Sorry for my late response, you only need to pay a transaction fee with PayPal when you use a debit card of credit card. And the receiving party pays a transaction fee which is based on their monthly income through PayPal.

So as long as you don’t use a debit- or creditcard you should be in the clear.


#16

1.50 pounds fee for foreign transaction? Holy shit that’s high. In Poland we usually pay 2-3 percent (depending on which bank you have your credit card in) of the transaction value if it’s not PLN or EUR.


#17

@Yippie Oh! I didn’t realise that. I’m clueless about Paypal though.

@Readher Oops I just checked. It was a £1 set transaction fee, which happens on all foreign currency transactions, plus 3% of the total cost. Which worked out at £1.50 on the last thing I purchased.


#18

Off topic, but I just saw your “modfeather” title :joy:


#19

1 pound seems still pretty high to me. We only have that 2-3 percent fee here, no any flat addition. I can buy 4 breads for 1.50 pounds here. Crazy high if you ask me.