The prices of products or services must be clearly displayed and easily legible and visible
. They must be expressed in euros and include VAT and all other applicable taxes.
The actual price charged by the professional may not be higher than the price displayed.
Who is concerned
The obligation to display prices applies to all professionals who offer a product or service to a consumer.
A professional is any natural or legal persons, public or private, who engages in a commercial, industrial, artisanal or professional activity, in their own right or through other persons or entities acting in their name or on their behalf.
A consumer is any natural person who acts within an environment unrelated to their commercial, industrial, artisanal or professional activity.
How to proceed
Different ways of displaying prices
Sellers of products or providers of services may:
- mark the price on the product; or
- put it on a label (on the display or elsewhere); or
- display the price (on a sign or elsewhere); or
- use any other appropriate means.
The price must be displayed in writing in a clear, legible and identifiable manner. Consumers cannot be made to enquire about the price with the seller or the service provider. Verbal information at the consumer's request is therefore not sufficient.
The price must be displayed in euros.
Apart from these common rules, obligations differ depending on whether it is a good or a service that is being sold.
If a product is being sold
In principle, sellers must display two prices: the selling price (the price of a rib-eye steak, for example) and the price of the product per unit of measurement (the price of a rib-eye steak per kilogramme). This is called a dual price display.
For certain pre-packaged products, not only the net weight but also the drained net weight must be displayed. In this case, only the price at the drained net weight (for a jar of pickles, for example) needs to be displayed.
If the sales area of the shop is less than 400m², only the selling price needs to be displayed.
However, these stores must display both prices if several businesses are operated by the same natural or legal person
and if the sales area of one (or more) of these businesses is greater than 400m².
In the same shops, for products sold in bulk, the price per unit of measurement must be displayed (per kilogramme, litre, etc.). These are products that are not pre-packaged and are measured in the presence of the consumer, such as oranges, unwrapped cheese sold at the counter, ropes or chains. The final sale price cannot be displayed in advance.
It is also not necessary to display the price per unit of measurement in the following cases:
- itinerant businesses (such as drinks stands);
- certain food products;
- non-food products, except for certain products;
- products sold when providing a service, such as shampoo sold in a hairdressing salon;
- selling price identical to price per unit of measurement. (such as a one-litre bottle of mineral water).
For products sold in bulk, only the price per unit of measurement needs to be displayed.
For different products packed together, only the selling price of the whole pre-packaged item needs to be displayed.
How should the price be displayed by the seller?
- Individual display: prices must be displayed individually if one of the following features makes a product distinctive:
- type (e.g., a T-shirt versus a button-down shirt);
- quality (e.g., a silk shirt versus a cotton shirt);
- packaging (e.g., T-shirts sold in packs of two or packs of one; three pairs of socks packaged together);
- presentation (e.g., five shirts on a display or one shirt displayed by itself on a mannequin).
Prices may be displayed collectively if they are for identical products which are displayed in the same area (e.g., a large basket of espadrilles).
- Price displays inside and outside the premises:
If products are displayed inside the store in plain sight, their prices must be clearly visible inside the premises.
If products are displayed in outdoor showcases or displays, their price must be clearly visible from the outside. It must be possible for consumers to know the price of a product without having to enter the shop to ask for the price.
If products are not displayed in the shop in plain sight but can be purchased either inside the shop itself or in a room right next to the shop, then it is not necessary to put a label with the price on each product individually. Only a list of prices needs to be displayed in the shop. (Example: Sale of screws stored in a room behind the sales counter. Each screw does not need to be labelled individually. A list of prices in the store, clearly visible to the public, is all that is needed.)
If a service is being provided
For their most common services, service providers, except for those providing professional services, must display their unit rates, inclusive of VAT and/or any other taxes (e.g., hairdressing salons, restaurants and cafés must display their rates, but architecture or law firms are not required to do so because they are liberal professions).
Service included: Establishments that serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, hotels and boarding houses, restaurants and tea rooms must also display their prices inclusive of service.
As is the case with prices of products, service providers must display their rates in a clear, understandable and legible manner.
If the final price can not be set in advance, the various elements or criteria used to calculate the total price must be displayed. This applies in particular to hourly rates, inclusive of all taxes, labour and travel expenses (e.g., an installer will display hourly rates inclusive of taxes for labour and travel expenses).
In all cases, prices must be displayed inside the shop.
If a professional has facilities available and accessible to the public, prices must be displayed not only inside but also outside the premises. It must be possible for the consumer to know the prices from outside the premises (e.g., a hairdressing salon, restaurant, café or driving school).
If the number or complexity of the services being offered does not permit the display of prices, prices may be displayed:
- in a catalogue or other brochure that the service provider
makes available to the consumer in their office;
- in an estimate which must mention the total amount to be paid, inclusive of all taxes.
The price displayed in an advertisement, such as an advertising leaflet or on TV, forms part of the sales contract or contract for the service provided subsequently. If the subsequent price is not the same as the price displayed in the advertisement, the consumer has the right to ask for the contract to be terminated.
There is a special rule for shops of less than 400m² and for itinerant businesses. For these, it is not mandatory to display the price of products sold by unit of measurement. However, advertising by such professionals must still display the selling price and the price of the product per unit of measurement.
In practice, any consumer who encounters a problem with a professional concerning the display of a price may contact the Ministry of the Economy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who to contact
Internal Market and Consumption Directorate19-21, boulevard Royal
Phone : (+352) 247-84361Fax : (+352) 221607