Price display for goods

What information should you be given?
What is unit pricing?
Can shops display a sterling price in Ireland?
Can shops charge different prices for the same product?
Should the price include VAT?

What information should you be given?

  • Shops must display the price of goods they sell.
  • You should be given clear and accurate information on the price of goods so you can compare your options.
  • The price must be displayed in euro on or near the goods. A common way to display the price is on a shelf edge label (SEL). However, a shop can put a price sticker or label on the goods, or just have a price list near where the goods are displayed.
  • The price displayed must include VAT.
  • These rules also apply to goods sold on websites. The price must be displayed near the information about the goods on the website. Where there are additional charges, such as a delivery charge, information on these charges must also be made available to you on the website. Get more information about buying online

What is unit pricing?

  • The unit price is the final selling price in euro, including tax, for goods in the following measurements:
    • one kilogramme
    • one litre
    • one metre
  • When you are shopping for groceries, you will notice that most products will have a total selling price. However you may notice that some items have a unit price, such as fruit, vegetables and meat, and are sold by weight. Under consumer law, if an item is being sold by weight (either loosely or in a packet) the unit price must be displayed. It is designed to help you compare the cost of groceries that are sold by weight or volume.
  • Many items are priced by weight and sold in a pack. In these cases the shop should give you both prices – the unit and pack selling price.
  • Unit pricing allows you to compare the cost of similar products that are sold in different sized packs. Comparing prices this way can help you save money as you can see which one is the best value – regardless of the brand or the size of the pack. You might think that items sold in bigger packs will be better value but this is not always the case when you look at the unit price.
  • Some goods are not sold by weight but by the number of items, for example, five bananas for €1. These do not need to be unit priced. However, they still need to have a selling price displayed.
Did you know?
If a shop doesn’t have the equipment to print shelf edge labels or for point of sale scanning, then it does not have to display the unit price, only the selling price.
Top Tips
  • Check the unit price on items sold in bigger packs. These may seem better value but can actually be more expensive than buying smaller packs.
  • If items are available both loose and pre-packaged, you can check the unit price of both to get the best value.

Can shops display a sterling price in Ireland?

Prices must be displayed in euro but it is not against the law for shops to also display prices in other currencies such as sterling.

If a price is displayed in another currency, it doesn’t have to be a direct conversion of the euro price. Other currency prices displayed are usually the price you would pay if you bought the item in another country.

Did you know?
A shop doesn’t have to accept payment in another currency, such as sterling, where both sterling and euro prices are displayed.

Can different shops charge different prices for the same product?

In general, there are no price controls in Ireland. This means that, in most cases, there is no minimum or maximum price for goods or services. This is to allow competition among businesses, and each sets their own prices for goods or services.

A shop is not breaking the law by charging more than their competitors. If you feel that you are not getting good value, then you should shop around for a better price.

Should the price include VAT?

Shops must display the full and final price of goods for sale in euro. The final price must include any taxes, such as Value Added Tax (VAT).

Under consumer law, a shop should give the price including any applicable VAT charges. However, for services like your phone and electricity bills, the VAT can legally be shown separately, as long as the total amount is clear.

Shops and businesses that sell goods to commercial customers, for example marked as ‘trade only’, are allowed to show prices that exclude VAT.

Last updated on 19 August 2019