When you're comparing your products' prices with other prices there are some situations where you'll need to take special care not to mislead people.
Comparison with a recommended retail price or similar
If you make a price comparison, you shouldn't use a recommended retail price (RRP) or a similar price if:
- it isn't genuine
- it's very different to the price you normally sell the product for
- you're the only business that supplies the goods in question
If the manufacturer of a product has included a printed price reduction like '10p off RRP' on the packaging, you should pass this on to your customers.
If the item carries a pre-printed price that's higher than the price you'll charge, you're making a price comparison. You should treat the pre-printed price in the same way as an RRP.
Sales and special events
The rules covering pricing information also apply to sales and special events. Key requirements include:
- if you buy goods in specially for a sale, and you make this clear to consumers, you shouldn't quote a higher price when you say that the goods are special purchases
- if you display a general notice advertising a reduction from the marked price, the notice should make it clear if the marked price on individual items isn't your own previous price
- you shouldn't use general notices advertising a reduction like '50 per cent off' unless the biggest reduction you quote applies to at least 10 per cent of the range of products on offer when your sale starts
- if you extend your sale period you should make the new circumstances clear
Free offers and similar promotions
The law bans traders from describing a product as 'free' if a customer has to pay anything for it apart from any unavoidable cost of responding to the offer and the cost of collection or delivery.
You should make it clear exactly what people have to do to get a free or reduced-price offer - for example, collecting tokens or paying for delivery.
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