In a free market economy, clear and precise price indication is essential to empower consumers to make informed purchase choices. While shopping around for the best deals, it is crucial for consumers to have accurate and transparent information about the prices of products they are considering. The right to clear and correct information is, in fact, a basic consumer right.

The Price Indication Regulations mandate that prices must be visibly indicated on all goods that are displayed for sale, including those in shop windows. It is, in fact, not legally acceptable that price tags of products displayed in shop windows are hidden from consumers’ vision.

The regulations also specify that when multiple items of the same kind, size, type, or brand are displayed, it is sufficient for the seller to display the price on just one of the items or in proximity to them, such as on the shelf where the items are located or on a nearby price list. This is acceptable, as long as consumers can clearly identify the prices of the products offered for sale without requesting the seller’s assistance.

The same regulations require sellers to display prices in euros, and the price shown on products must match the final price charged at the cashpoint. In addition, indicated prices must include VAT and any other taxes or mandatory fees.

If the price charged is more than the displayed price, such practice would be considered misleading, and thus consumers may insist to pay the displayed price. If the seller denies the consumers’ request, consumers may report the seller and file a complaint with the MCCAA.

The primary goal of these regulations is to prevent sellers from artificially raising the reference price, thereby misleading consumers

The requirement to display the final, correct price of goods also applies during ‘sales’ and promotional offers. Retailers must not only show the percentage discount but also the final reduced price.

Additionally, when announcing a price reduction, retailers should also indicate the previous price before the discount is applied. The law specifies that the comparison price, or the price before the discount, should be the lowest price at which the product was sold by the retailer in the 30 days before the sales. If the product has been for sale for less than 30 days, the comparison price should be the lowest price at which the product was available before the sale started.

In cases where a price reduction increases progressively during a promotion or sales period, the reference price should be the one at which the goods were sold before the initial reduction.

The primary goal of these regulations is to prevent sellers from artificially raising the reference price, thereby misleading consumers.

Another obligation sellers have is to display two prices for goods sold by unit weight or volume. One of the prices should reflect the actual price for a specific quantity of the product, such as the cost of 100 grams of cheese. The other price is the unit price, which must indicate the cost per kilo or per litre.

This dual pricing also applies to pre-packed goods, including food items sold in pre-set or variable quantities. For pre-packed solid products stored in a liquid medium, the unit price must be based on the weight of the solid food excluding the liquid.

Consumers should note that sellers are not required to indicate prices on advertised products unless the advert directly invites consumers to buy the product through distance sales methods, such as online. Additionally, the Price Indication Regulations do not apply to the sale of works of art or antiques, nor do they apply to goods that are supplied as part of a service. Goods intended for resale or those sold at auction are also exempt from price indication.

Concerning services, the Unfair Commercial Practices Regulations require traders to provide consumers with certain information, including prices. If the price cannot be predetermined, sellers must explain the method of price calculation. Furthermore, it is the consumers’ responsibility to ensure they are fully informed of all costs before agreeing to a purchase or signing a sales contract.

When prices are not displayed or are incorrectly indicated, consumers may report these breaches to the Office for Consumer Affairs at the MCCAA. Such reports may either be made through the Freephone service: 8007 4400, or by using the ‘Flag a Concern’ form available on the MCCAA website.


Odette Vella is director, Information and Research Directorate, MCCAA.

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