Display of prices for goods and services
In Ireland while there are no controls on prices, there is legislation the way prices of products and services are displayed to consumers. These laws consist of the EC (Requirements to Indicate Product Prices) Regulations 2002 and Orders made under the Prices Act 1958 to 1972 and the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (pdf). The legislation ensures that consumers have enough information to make price comparisons between different products and services.
Under the European
Union (Provision of Services) Regulations 2010 certain service providers
should provide the price of a service or a detailed estimate of a price for a
service at the request of the recipient. The European
Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulation 2013
provides protection to consumers from excessive and stealth charges separate
from and additional to the price paid for goods or services under a consumer
The purpose of the EC (Requirements to Indicate Product Prices) Regulations 2002 is to enable consumer to see the price of the product before buying and to make price comparisons. The price of products on sale in shops and supermarkets may be attached to the items themselves. Alternatively they may be displayed on a label on the edge of the shelf. Generally, shelf labels are used to display prices in supermarkets since barcodes have becomes more popular. Under the EC (Requirements to Indicate Product Prices) Regulations 2002, retailers must show the correct selling price in euro including taxes. Unit prices for products sold by weight volume or measure must also be clearly displayed. More detailed information on pricing of goods and services is available here. The Regulations provide for certain exemptions from unit pricing such as items which are equal or less than 50 ml or 50 grams. The Regulations also extend to online shopping. Services are not covered by the Product Pricing Regulations.
The Prices and Charges (Tax-Inclusive Statements) Order, 1973 requires that all prices marked on goods or prices displayed or quoted at the retail level and all charges for services displayed or quoted should be tax-inclusive (e.g. VAT) except where it is intended solely for a business customer.
The Retail Price (Beverages in Licensed Premises) Display Order, 1999 is designed to inform customers about the prices charged in licensed premises. Licensed premises in Ireland includes bars, night-clubs, or other venues that require a vintners license to operate. The order states that licensed premises display 2 lists of drinks prices. A comprehensive list of all items sold and a summary (i.e., abbreviated) list of the 16 most popular drinks for sale. If there are different prices in different areas of the licensed premises (for example prices for drinks are different in the Lounge and in the Bar) these notices need to be displayed prominently in all areas where the products are sold. If the prices change after a certain time (for example after 11p.m.) this also needs to be displayed on the notice. Price lists should cover drinks sold for consumption on the premises. Off-licences are not covered by this Order but they are covered by the Requirements to Indicate Product Prices Regulations 2002.
A 16 item list of prices needs to be displayed prominently either inside or directly outside the entrance of the premises. The following is a list of 16 items that need to be displayed by publicans to comply with the order:
- Pint (568 ml) of draught stout
- Pint (568ml) of draught ale
- Pint (568 ml) of draught lager
- Pint (568ml) of draught cider
- Bottle (330ml) of stout
- Bottle (330ml) of ale
- Bottle (330ml) of lager
- Bottle (330ml) of cider
- Measure (35.5ml) of whiskey
- Measure (35.5ml) of gin
- Measure (35.5ml) of vodka
- Bottle (200ml) of carbonated drink
- Bottle (200ml) of carbonated cola drink
- Bottle (113ml) of a mixer
- Bottle (250ml) of water
- A bottle (187ml) of wine
Both the 16 item and the comprehensive list need to be clear and visible to customers. That means the price lists must be displayed in a prominent position where anyone could reasonably see them. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission surveys licensed premises to ensure their compliance with the law. It can prosecute publicans and licensees who are found to be in breach of the Order.
Food in restaurants, cafés and hotels
If you visit a restaurant you can reasonably expect to be informed about their prices for food. The Retail Prices (Food in Catering Establishments) Display Order, 1984 requires the owners to display a comprehensive price list of food items. This law applies to all hotels, pubs, restaurants, cafés, etc. that offer food for sale and consumption on the premises. This notice should be visible immediately outside or inside where the food is being served. In the case of a hotel or a licensed premises where food is served in some areas, the notice can be displayed either at the entrance to the premises or at the entrance to the catering area. Any extra charges that apply (such as service charges etc) must be stated clearly on the notice too.
The Charges (Hairdressing) Display Order, 1976 requires hairdressers to display a notice setting out the charges for every service rendered by them as a hairdresser. (In this context, the term ‘hairdressers’ also includes barbershops). If possible the notice must be visible from the street or immediately inside the entrance to the hairdressers. The notice must also be clearly visible and easy to read.
Diesel and petrol
The Retail Prices (Diesel and Petrol) Display Order, 1997 requires that service stations display the prices for petrol and diesel. The notice must be clearly visible from the side of the road and be in writing at least 20cm in height. The Order specifies that the prices must be displayed in litres. In addition, the actual price charged at the petrol pump must match the price displayed.
Concert and theatre tickets
The Consumer Information (Advertisements for Concert or Theatre Performances) Order, 1997 sets down that every written advertisement for a public concert or theatre performance must indicate the admission price. Any additional charge and the circumstances in which such additional charges are payable must be stated separately, in either monetary or percentage terms (for example, if there is an extra charge for paying by credit card this must be stated in the written advertisement). In all other forms of advertising (e.g. radio or TV advertising) the admission price must be stated together with a reference to the fact that an additional charge may be payable in certain circumstances.
The Consumer Information (Advertisements for Airfares) Order, 2000 specifies rules for the advertisements of airfares. In every advertisement for airfares (including radio, television and print) the total price must be clearly stated. Specifically this means the price payable for the airfare must include all charges (i.e., taxes, etc.). If restrictions apply, then every restriction should be clearly specified in the advertisement. (For example, the airfare price may only be applicable to flights between certain dates, times, etc).
Under a Code of Practice (pdf) issued by the Dental Council, dentists must display private fees in a place where patients can view them before consultation. For certain specified procedures a single fee should apply. The fee for certain other procedures should be shown as a range, with both a minimum and a maximum fee clearly stated. For all other treatments, dentists should provide an estimate of the cost of that treatment and obtain the patient's agreement and consent before treatment starts.
How to apply
You can contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission if you find that a retailer or service provider is not displaying prices as per the law.
Where to apply