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 you can pass to your customer. 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
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 100g 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)
- required by weights and measures legislation to be marked with an indication of quantity or sold in a prescribed quantity
Note that shops that have a retail area of less than 280 m2 do not have to display the unit price.
For more information on the price marking of goods and unit pricing see the In-depth Guide 'Price marking of goods for retail sale'.Back to top
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.Back to top
Paying with a card
The law allows you to make a charge for debit and credit card payments, but this charge must not be higher than the cost you have to pay for processing that method of payment.
And these rules extend beyond credit and debit card payments to include charges for all other payment methods. This covers all contracts, whether they are concluded in your business premises or via a distance means, such as an online purchase.Back to top
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.
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
In-depth guidanceThis 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
Official guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority
The law requires you to display price information in a certain way that is not misleading to consumers
In most cases, surcharges for electronic or card payments are not permitted; where allowed, surcharges based on the payment method are subject to restrictions
When selling goods, in most circumstances the consumer must be informed of the selling price in writing
Requirements for the sale of alcohol in pubs, restaurants, etc