Mac users might be paying more than PC users for airline tickets and more

MacBook Pro 2018
MacBook Pro 2018 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Some retailers are charging Mac users more than PC users, despite selling the same product to both.
  • UK rules could prevent such "big brother tactics."

Buying airline tickets on a Mac? You might find that the price is cheaper if you use a Windows PC instead, according to a new report. And the UK government is working to bring in new rules to outlaw the "big brother tactics" used by retailers.

According to MailOnline, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is set to kick off plans that will tackle retailers that employ a variety of shady tactics — including charging Mac users more.

The Government is to crack down on greedy online retailers that use Big Brother tactics to identify shoppers with expensive Apple computers so they can quote higher prices.Officials are examining measures to halt the 'exploitation' of consumers by companies, including airlines, which harvest computer data then use it to tailor prices for individual shoppers.

James Daley, managing director of consumer group Fairer Finance, points out that it is "totally unacceptable to penalize people based on the type of computer they're using." Daley suggests that companies are targeting Mac users because they "had the money to buy a more expensive computer." He's right, too, with Apple's M1 MacBook Air starting at $999. The suggestion is that those with more costly computers can afford, and are willing, to pay more.

Retailers appear to be using cookies and other techniques to work out what computers people are using when doing their shopping, and then tailoring their prices accordingly. While the report doesn't name specific companies, it does point to airlines as one industry that could be making use of such tactics. Airlines are also known for tacking additional charges onto flights, something that will also be outlawed in the UK should these plans move forward.

One way to prevent this could be to block the use of cookies when browsing websites, although that could also be detrimental to the user experience depending on the site in question. Ad blockers and a good Mac VPN might also help, too.

Check out the full MailOnline piece for more information on what the UK Business Secretary is looking to crack down on.

Planning on buying a new Mac despite this news? These are the best Mac deals we've seen.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.