With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for canny shoppers / bargain hunters.
If you like to save money when you shop, EU laws can help you tell if you are getting the best deal and protect you from some scams.
According to EU rules, sellers must indicate product prices clearly, including price per unit, to enable you to compare products easily. Prices must include all taxes and delivery charges and must be unambiguous, clearly legible, and easily identifiable.
Sellers are also forbidden to label a product as ‘gratis’, ‘free’ or ‘without charge’ if you have to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the advert and collecting it or having it delivered.
EU laws ban all aggressive and misleading commercial practices, but some of these are especially relevant to canny shoppers. Shops are, for instance, forbidden to claim that they have a ‘liquidation sale’ when this is not true. Also forbidden are false claims that a product is only available, or available at a certain price, for a very limited time, as this means you don’t have time to make an informed choice. Bait advertising – where sellers lure you to their shop by advertising a product at a low price, even though they know don’t have sufficient quantities available at that price, or refuse to show the product or to take orders and promote a different product instead, is also not allowed.
EU laws also forbid the use of hidden advertising in the media, where adverts are presented as journalistic content without a clear indication that the publicity was in fact paid for.
- Presentation of the Champagne region and wine, https://www.champagne.fr/fr/economie/chiffres-clef
- European Commission website on Geographic indications, http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/accessing-markets/intellectual-property/geographical-indications/
- European Court of auditors, Report on investment and promotion support to the wine sector, https://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/SR14_09/QJAB14005ENC.pdf