How prices are displayed
Shops must clearly display prices in euro, on or near all products for sale. There are some exceptions to this:
- Items sold at auction.
- Goods sold loosely, where the final selling price can only be determined once the consumers have decided on the quantity (e.g. fruit, vegetables, fish, salad etc.). However, in such cases a unit price, (i.e. unit of weight or volume) must be displayed.
Unit pricing is a labelling system that helps you to easily compare prices of groceries. It tells you how much different products would cost if they were sold in packs of the same weight or volume. By using standard units of measurement you can easily compare the prices of products, regardless of their size or brand. This helps you to compare prices of lots of similar products which are sold in different sized packs.
By law, shops must display both the selling price and the unit price on or near to the item. Both prices usually appear on the same label at the edge of the shelf, with the selling price printed bigger and the unit price underneath. If the shop doesn’t have equipment for printing shelf-edge labels or for point-of-sale scanning, then it doesn’t have to display the unit price, only the selling price.
How does unit pricing help you?
- Unit pricing makes it easier for you to compare prices in different sizes and from different brands, as you can compare the cost of one kilogram or one litre of similar products
- Comparing unit prices can help you to save money as you can choose the best value product for you
- Sometimes items sold in bigger packs might look better value, but actually be more expensive by weight or volume
- You can look out for special offers on a product which might temporarily have the lowest unit price
- If a product is available loose or pre-packaged, you can check the unit price of both to compare the best value
Tax inclusive pricing
Shops must display the full and final price of goods for sale in euro, including Value Added Tax (VAT), and any other taxes or charges.
Businesses that sell products for commercial customers (e.g. marked as “trade only”), are allowed show prices that exclude VAT.
If the price in a shop doesn’t include VAT, then the shop is misleading consumers and breaking the law. However, for services like your phone and electricity bills, the VAT can legally be shown separately, as long as the total amount is clear.
Certain service providers, such as dry cleaners, are not legally required to display their prices or charges. Where they do quote a price, they must give the final price, inclusive of taxes and charges.
Printed ads for the theatre and concerts must show the admission price and any additional charges like booking fees, separately. In all other forms of advertising, the admission price must be given along with any additional charges which could apply.