Robert asks: My local 24-hour convenience store doesn’t display any prices, either on the shelves or the items themselves. I’d like to know if this is legal or if they should display prices?
After being charged three different prices for the same item in one week I’ve stopped buying anything there – should I go back and complain?
Joanne Lezemore, Senior Solicitor for Which? Legal Service responds:
For most goods pricing information must be clearly legible, displayed either on the goods or near to the goods, and inclusive of VAT and any other taxes.
Failure to do this is not only inconvenient for customers like yourself, it could also be a criminal offence, so your local shop should be making more of an effort to clearly price its products.
However, retailers don’t have to sell items at the price displayed if they have made a mistake; when you go into a shop, the items on display are an ‘invitation to treat’.
This means that you collect the item and ask the shop keeper to sell it to you. If you accept the price stated by the shop keeper and the retailer accepts the money, a contract is made.
Still, retailers and shopkeepers should be careful to be clear about their prices – to mislead customers is a criminal offence. If you feel you’ve been misled, read about your rights on pricing disputes and look at our guide on how to complain about misleading prices.
I hope this helps you; please be aware that the guidance given is limited by the information I have and should not be treated as a substitute for taking full legal advice.
Have you ever been misled by prices – or lack of prices – in a shop? What do you think retailers should do to make costs clearer to consumers?