Price indications appearing in physical stores must be immediately visible to the consumer, and displayed prominently in relation to the product. Scanners and other new self-service technology can be applied towards this end provided that the consumer can obtain information about the price as easy and quickly as with conventional price indications.
The price marking duty applies to goods displayed on physical business premises or other places to which consumers have easy access and where the goods are visibly displayed. In other words: the price marking duty also applies to goods sold outside the regular business premises or on commercial fairs where it is possible to order goods unless the fair is strictly intended for business and trade.
The price must also be indicated clearly on goods exhibited in display or shop windows so that it can be seen from the outside. The price to be indicated is the price at which the product is usually sold in the store in question. Discount arrangements offered to designated groups of consumers need not be indicated. However, where all consumers are eligible for a specific discount on a specific product, the price indicated must be inclusive of the deduction. Whether price indications meet the requirements regarding clarity depend on a concrete evaluation on the basis of parameters such as the size of the store, the nature of the goods, the type of scanner and the like.
It should also be easy for consumers to obtain information about product prices in electronic stores. Whether the price marking procedures meet the requirements set out in relation clarity is subject to a concrete assessment. An indication of the price the first time a product is presented is not strictly required as long as the consumer can find a page where the price is stated. The Consumer Ombudsman points out that the price to be indicated the first time is the total price.
As for price indications relating to services, a notice or a price list is deemed sufficient. An updated price indication must be available inside or outside the business premises so that the consumer can see the price without having to make enquiries with the staff.
As evident from the above, the DCO holds the opinion that the total price (inclusive of all mandatory costs) which must be stated is the total sum of fees and charges levied by the business to be paid by the consumer. The business must also inform the consumers about variable costs and fees. Where services are offered for sale online, price indications may be stated when presenting the product for the first time, or by providing a link to the information, cf. above. It is the total price that should be indicated, if possible, the first time. Mandatory as well as variable costs and fees must be indicated as well.
It is legal to omit price indications in advertising. However, where price indications form part of a commercial message, whether in advertisements or other marketing material, promoting goods or services, the above counts – among other things - must be observed.
Oral price information is subject to the same rules as written price indications; written and oral price information thus enjoys equal standing legally, and ensures consistency between the two.
Where a business’ website features order facilities, information about prices is required. As order facilities fall outside the definition of marketing, the business must state relevant price information.