In the guide

If you provide goods to consumers you have a responsibility to make sure they are aware of the price of buying from you

The law sets out general requirements not to mislead your customers on price. There are also some specific rules on payment surcharges. And if you offer consumers credit with goods, you need to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Your obligations to consumers

The law on price marking states that where goods are offered for sale to consumers, they must have their price clearly indicated. The pricing information must be clearly legible, unambiguous, easily identifiable and inclusive of VAT and any other taxes.

This information should be clearly visible to your customers without them having to ask for it.

Pricing information is required in both the retail shop environment and when selling by distance means - online, for example.

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Unit pricing: what is it?

Unit pricing is designed to allow your customers to compare products by reference to weight or volume. For example, two packets of breakfast cereal of differing weights will have a price per 100 g as well as a total price shown.

Unit pricing is required by law for products that are either:

  • sold loose from bulk - for example, fruit and vegetables
    ... or
  • required by weights and measures legislation to be marked with an indication of quantity or sold in a prescribed quantity

Note that small shops with a retail area of less than 280 m2 do not have to display the unit price.

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What are the general requirements in relation to pricing?

The law prohibits businesses from misleading their customers - for example, displaying goods at a lower price than actually charged, or showing a sale price when the higher price was never charged. The law also prohibits a trader from omitting or hiding information a consumer would need to make a decision whether to purchase goods or not. An example of this would be failing to inform a customer of a compulsory additional charge.

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Paying with a card

By law you are not allowed to make a charge for consumers paying for goods and services using a personal debit or credit card.

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Credit-related purchases

Anyone who offers credit to consumers must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

For more detailed information please see the In-depth Guides below. Once you've finished, make sure you look at the full range of Quick Guides to see whether there are any other areas of law that affect your business.

Before you start
Make sure you choose your location using the drop-down list at the top of the page. The In-depth Guides provide country-specific information as some laws are different in England, Scotland and Wales, and some are enforced differently.

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In-depth guidance

This is a general guide and you may well need to know more; take a look below where we've listed our In-depth Guides on specific topics related to pricing and payment


Credit and other financial matters

Official guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority

Displaying prices in hotels etc

The law requires you to display price information in a certain way that is not misleading to consumers

Payment surcharges

In most cases, surcharges for electronic or card payments are not permitted; where allowed, surcharges based on the payment method are subject to restrictions

Providing price information

When selling goods and providing services, in most circumstances, the consumer must be informed of the selling price in writing

Selling alcohol in licensed premises

Requirements for the sale of alcohol in pubs, restaurants, etc

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Consumer enquiries from England, Scotland and Wales are handled by the Citizens Advice Consumer Service who can be contacted by telephone on 03454 04 05 06. Consumer enquiries in Northern Ireland are handled by ConsumerLine who can be contacted by telephone on 0300 1236262. Call charges may vary.

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How many employees are there in your business?

Business enquiries are dealt with by your local council. Use the Chartered Trading Standards Institute's postcode finder to locate your local trading standards team.

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