Shopping for a bargain – but is the price right?

March 7, 2023

Have you ever spotted an item marked at the perfect price only to discover when you go to pay that the price is higher? It may surprise you to know that businesses are not obliged to honour the displayed price, once they’ve made you aware of the price before you pay for the product.

As a consumer you should always shop around for the best price, but where exactly do you stand when it comes to pricing?

Basic rules on pricing

Under consumer law, businesses must:

  • display prices clearly on or near products in store
  • display prices beside item descriptions online
  • clearly identify the price in Euro
  • include Value Added Tax (VAT) in the price
  • show unit prices for products sold by weight, volume or measure

Prices may be displayed in other currencies as long as the Euro price is also displayed. Prices in other currencies do not have to be a direct conversion of the Euro price.

Pricing errors

It is a common misunderstanding that a business is obliged to sell you the item at the display price.

Incorrect pricing is usually the result of human error. It may be that they forgot to update the price or made a mistake when doing so. You should bring this to the business’s attention if it happens in store so they can address it. If you believe the pricing was deliberately misleading rather than a genuine mistake, you should complain to the business. You can also report this to the CCPC.

Sales pricing

A CCPC survey carried out during the most recent Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales found that 49% of Irish consumers don’t trust the accuracy of discount information. They were suspicious of pre-sale prices and the percentage discount actually applied. The survey also showed that price and discount influence consumers’ decisions when it comes to buying. The EU Price Indication Directive (PID) introduced new rules for businesses last year. All goods on sale must now show the prior price. This is generally the lowest price the goods were on sale for during the previous 30 days.

For example, you see an armchair on sale ‘now €250 – was €400’. It must not have been on sale for less than €400 during the 30 days before the sale began. The new regulations make it illegal to give a false or misleading prior price.

Learn more about your consumer rights on our consumer hub.

Return to News

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?