The main purpose of the Price Indication Directive is to ensure that the selling price and the price per unit of measurement (unit price) are indicated for all products offered by traders to consumers, in order to improve consumer information and to facilitate comparison of prices. The selling price must be unambiguous, easily identifiable and clearly legible.
The Commission carried out an appraisal of the Directive in 2004, and consulted stakeholders on the possible revision of the Directive in 2006/2007.
The appraisal showed that:
- 76% of small retailers find unit pricing a logical part of their pricing process;
- 72% of small retailers agree that consumers use unit prices in their buying choices and behaviour.
The majority of EU countries and consumer stakeholders in the public consultation supported eliminating or limiting in time, the possibility for EU countries to exempt small businesses from the obligation of indicating the unit price.
Moreover, most countries agreed that the unit price constitutes valuable information for consumers, and some responses even suggested that the latter are more acutely in need of complete price information when they purchase from small retail businesses.
EU countries acknowledged that there might be an additional burden on small retail businesses to comply with the Directive. Technological solutions were seen as the most appropriate means of easing this burden over time. In the meantime, the burden on small retail businesses was still viewed as reasonable and proportionate.
In 2006 the Commission published a Communication on the Implementation of the Unit Prices Directive to examine how EU countries had implemented the Directive. The replies to the following public consultation are also available in the form of a short summary.
The Directive is part of the ongoing Fitness Check of the EU consumer and marketing law.