Price Marking Order 1999 Requires unit pricing of a wide range of products when displayed for sale. 18 March 2000
New law/regulation/code: Following an EU Price Indications Directive (98/6/EC), a raft of new price marking rules came into force in the UK on 18 March 2000.
Displaying and advertising product prices was controlled in the UK principally by the "misleading price indications" provisions in Part III of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Price Marking Order 1991. The 1991 Order overlaid the general anti-misleading price indication rules of the 1987 Act with specific rules about eg quoting unit prices, indicating the prices of goods on retail display, treatment of VAT in price indications and quoting the prices of ancillary goods or services such as number plates and delivery in car ads.
What has changed: Virtually all of the 1991 Order (all 22 pages of it including four schedules) have now been swept away. They are replaced by the slim, six page Price Marking Order 1999. All the detailed rules governing the quotation in ads of the prices of "ancillary goods and services" disappear. So for number plate etc prices in car ads, the only statutory requirement is not to be misleading.
The old VAT quotation rules, applying where sales arising out of the advertisement are "mainly to persons carrying on business" have also gone. In their place is a broader requirement that VAT is included in the price quoted if the sale resulting from the price quotation "is or may be for sale to a consumer."
"Consumer" is defined as any individual who buys a product for purposes not within the sphere of his commercial or professional activity.
The "selling price" quotation obligations (eg clearly legible, unambiguous, easily identifiable, in proximity to goods to which they relate) are much the same as the 1991 Order, except that they do not apply to "advertisements," but to in store display of product for retail sale. But hang on. Advertisers can't breathe that easy. "Advertisements" for these purposes may include shop window displays where product will only in exceptional circumstances be taken from the window and sold, but excludes any ad encouraging a consumer to enter into a distance contract (eg webvertisements and other direct response marketing). So for this exponentially increasing category of advertising the full rigour of the new regulations, including the unit price quoting rules covering eg multi-pack offers, will apply plus the up and coming Distance Selling Regulations plus the "misleading price indications" provisions of the 1987 Consumer Protection Act.
Who said the rules for price indications were being simplified?
In force since: 18 March 2000