With the approach of Christmas, the Department for the Economy’s Trading Standards Service (TSS) is reminding traders to ensure that their prices are clearly displayed.
This reminder comes as Trading Standards officers are preparing to conduct a series of enforcement visits to check that traders are complying with their legal obligations under The Price Marking Order (Northern Ireland) 2004.
The legislation states that where goods are offered for sale to consumers the price must be clearly legible, unambiguous, easily identifiable and be inclusive of VAT. This includes items on display for sale in a shop window. The only exemption is for a single item of jewellery, precious metal or a watch in a jeweller’s window with a selling price of over £3,000.
If a trader’s shop floor sales area exceeds 280 square metres there is also an additional requirement to display a unit price for the goods.
Sharon Muldoon from the Trading Standards Service said: “It is essential that when shopping consumers can see the price of a product and it is a criminal offence if a consumer has to ask how much a product costs. Consumers should be able to shop around and make informed decisions. Having to ask for a price can cause embarrassment for consumers and sometimes cause them to pay a price which was a lot higher than expected and which they cannot easily afford.
“In addition to being a criminal offence to fail to display prices, with a maximum penalty up to £,5000 in the Magistrate’s Court, it is also not good business sense as consumers are likely to walk away and shop elsewhere if a price cannot easily be found.”
The Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices, produced by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), contains information for traders on good practice regarding giving information about prices, price promotions, reference prices, etc.
Traders are advised to contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or alternatively log onto the Consumerline website if they require further guidance on this matter.
Consumers who are aware of traders who are failing to display prices should also contact Consumerline.
Notes to editors:
Notes to editors:
- It is a criminal offence under the Prices Act 1974, for a trader to fail to comply with the requirements of the Price Marking Order (Northern Ireland) 2004.
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