Consumer protection legislation bans traders from giving misleading information about prices. This could include quoting a price that's lower than the one that actually applies to persuade a customer to buy something they might not otherwise have bought.
You must not show one price in an advert, on a website, in a window display, on shelf marking or on the item itself and then charge a higher price at the point of sale or checkout.
There are also specific regulations that apply to particular types of sale or ways of selling - including:
- distance selling contracts
- package travel
- estate agency
Your local trading standards service can advise you on the specific regulations that apply to your type of business.
All the pricing information that you give to consumers must include VAT at the appropriate rate. You must display the total price prominently so people can see it clearly.
If all of your trade is with business customers, you can legally display VAT-exclusive prices, so you can show the net price and the VAT separately.
Price indications that later become misleading
You should monitor all your pricing information to make sure it hasn't become misleading. For example, a price you quoted previously may no longer be accurate because you haven't updated it following a change in the VAT rate.
Know your legal responsibilities
- Do you need a licence?
- Get the right business insurance
- Comply with the law when providing goods and services
- Know your customers' rights
- Distance and online selling rules
- Understand pricing legislation
- Buying goods from outside NI
- Selling goods outside NI
- GDPR compliance checklist
- Pay your business rates
- Understand staff contracts and your responsibilities
- Taking on contractors and subcontractors
- Health and safety basics for business
- Know your legal obligations on pensions
Understand tax and VAT
Sell and market your products or services