Price indications on consumer products
Directive 98/6/EC rules on indicating prices of products offered to consumers
Directive (EU) 2019/2161 amending Directive 93/13/EEC and Directives 98/6/EC, 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?
Directive 98/6/EC requires the selling price and the unit price of all products offered by traders to consumers, to be clearly indicated in order to improve consumer information and to enable price comparisons.
It repealed Directives 79/581/EEC (foodstuff prices) and 88/314/EEC (non-food product prices) with effect from 18 March 2000.
Directive 98/6/EC is amended by Directive (EU) 2019/2161 which aims to modernise EU consumer law and improve its enforcement.
The selling price and the unit price must be indicated in an unambiguous, easily identifiable and clearly legible manner for all products offered by traders to consumers (‘unambiguous’ meaning the final price including value-added tax and all other taxes).
The unit price need not be indicated if it is identical to the selling price.
However, EU countries may decide not to apply this rule:
- to products supplied in the course of providing a service;
- to sales by auction and sales of works of art and antiques.
For products sold in bulk, only the unit price must be indicated.
Any advertising which mentions the selling price must also indicate the unit price.
EU countries may:
- waive the obligation to indicate the unit price of products for which such indication would not be useful or would be liable to create confusion;
- in the case of non-food products, draw up a list of the products to which the obligation to indicate the unit price will remain applicable.
The directive provided for a transitional period during which small retail businesses were not to be subject to the obligation to indicate the unit price of products other than those sold in bulk.
EU countries must:
- take appropriate measures to inform all persons concerned about the transposition of this legislation;
- lay down, and provide information on, the system of penalties for infringements of the national rules adopted in application of this directive.
Directive (EU) 2019/2161
Amending Directive (EU) 2019/2161 introduces a new article in Directive 98/6/EC regarding information to consumers about price reductions. Any announcement of a price reduction must clearly indicate the price previously applied by the trader (prior price). The prior price means the lowest price applied by the trader during a period of time not shorter than 30 days prior to the application of the price reduction.
The amendment provides for regulatory options for EU countries as regards goods which are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly (in particular food), continuous price reductions and goods that have been on sale for less than 30 days.
The existing requirement for EU countries to introduce effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for breaches of national rules on price indications has been complemented with a list of criteria for the imposition of penalties.
FROM WHEN DO THE DIRECTIVES APPLY?
Directive 98/6/EC had to become law in EU countries by 18 March 2000.
Amending Directive (EU) 2019/2161 has to become law in the EU countries by 28 November 2021. EU countries must apply the rules of the directive as of 28 May 2022.
For more information, see:
Directive 98/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers (OJ L 80, 18.3.1998, pp. 27-31)
Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directives 98/6/EC, 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules (OJ L 328, 18.12.2019, pp. 7-28)
Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 (OJ L 345, 27.12.2017, pp. 1-26)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee — A New Deal for Consumers (COM(2018) 183 final, 11.4.2018)
last update 20.05.2020