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The death of the single price?

Adam Shaw investigates the move away from a single price for a single product. What's behind this trend and does it matter?

If you've caught a train recently or booked a hotel or even taken an Uber minicab you'll be familiar with the idea that a fixed price for a single product is fast becoming a thing of the past. This practice of charging different prices based on how much people are willing to pay rather than the cost of production is known as price discrimination. The rise of online retailing and associated information on how we shop means that it is spreading.

Whilst being able to charge people exactly the amount they are prepared to pay for a product is obviously good for business but is it also good for the consumer? Philosophically, how does it affect our relationship with goods, services, and other customers, especially when there could be a difference of hundreds of pounds between what you've and your neighbour have paid? And how best to play the businesses who price discriminate at their own game?

Presenter: Adam Shaw
Producer: Alex Lewis
Editor: Andrew Smith.

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30 minutes

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