Special rules for retailers
Under the Price Marking Order 2004, if you're a retailer, you must:
- display clearly the price of goods
- display the unit price of goods sold loose
- use metric measures for unit pricing - note that some products can still be sold in imperial units (such as pints of beer and cider) and you can still provide the imperial measurement for other products providing you also give the metric equivalent
- price in sterling
- include VAT and any other taxes
The law says that the price must be marked in a way that is unambiguous, easily identifiable and clearly legible. The indication of price must be placed close to the product that it relates to and available to the customer without them having to ask for your assistance - but the law allows you to use any 'appropriate means', for example product labelling, shelf-edge marking or price lists.
It's a criminal offence to breach the regulations. The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has issued a code of practice to help businesses avoid giving misleading prices. Download the code of practice on misleading prices from the BIS website (PDF, 134K) - Opens in a new window.
Food and drink
If you sell food and drink as part of a service, for example in a pub or restaurant, you must display your prices. These must:
- state the quantities involved
- be clear when differences in quantity apply - eg when it is cheaper to buy a pint of beer than two half pints
- include VAT
Certain rules relating to the display of prices in pubs and restaurants were replaced by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 on 26 May 2008. The new regulations make it a general requirement not to omit information which the average customer needs to take an informed decision regarding a purchase.
It's also an offence to use misleading labels. So, for example, you can't sell a scone and margarine as a 'scone and butter'.
Food that has been irradiated or contains raw milk also needs to be clearly labelled.
There are many special regulations which apply to retailers selling specific food and drink products, for example sweets, eggs and sandwiches. You can find guidance on food labelling on the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) website - Opens in a new window.
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