Unfair business and sales practices

Pricing for businesses

This page has information for businesses about pricing goods.

Advertisements referring to price should clearly show the price at which people can buy the advertised goods. 

Special and reduced prices

You can't claim that prices are reduced from the manufacturer's recommended retail price list if the recommended retail price is not widely accepted in your trade.

It is illegal to advertise special prices and imply substantial savings when, in fact, the goods and services are normally sold at those special prices. The comparison may be misleading and deceptive as no real saving is being offered.

Advertisements must be accurate if they are offering to sell goods in any of the following ways:

  • at a reduced price
  • at a discounted price
  • a special price
  • a lower than normal price.

Small and fine print

The overall impression created by an advertisement is important. It must not be false or misleading. 

You must not use small print to correct a misleading impression created by other more prominent words.

The words ‘conditions apply’ at the bottom of an advertisement must not contradict the basic meaning of the advertisement.

For example, an advertisement would be misleading if a bold banner stated a sale was 50% off all stock, but included small print stating 'except manchester, cutlery and furniture'.

Also, a condition in very small font that appears for a very short time at the end of a TV advertisement may not be enough.

Continuous sale

It is illegal to continuously advertise goods or services at sale or reduced prices.

For example, if you regularly had a 50%-off sale over a period of time, the 50% price would be considered your normal or regular price.

Clearance, closing down and liquidation sales should all clearly distinguish imminent business closure from a mere stock clearance.

Display price

If an item displays more than one price, you must:

  • sell it for the lowest price
  • or withdraw it from sale.

The displayed price is one that is attached to, on or near the goods, or published in a catalogue.

You can’t promote or state a price that is only part of the cost unless also prominently advertising the total price.

Read about price scanning.

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Last updated: 11 June 2015

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