What is the aim of the directive?
It 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.
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, European Union (EU) countries may decide not to apply this rule:
- to products supplied in the course of the provision of 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 provisions adopted in application of this directive.
This directive repealed Directives 79/581/EEC (foodstuff prices) and 88/314/EEC (non-food product prices) with effect from 18 March 2000.
In 2006, the European Commission issued a communication which examined how EU countries had implemented the directive and seeking the views of interested parties.
From when does the directive apply?
It has applied since 18 March 1998. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 18 March 2000.
For more information, see:
- ‘Price indication’ on the European Commission's website.
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)
Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of Directive 1998/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 on consumer protection in the indication of prices of products offered to consumers (COM(2006) 325 final, 21.6.2006).
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