Pricing and charging
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Pink Book of Legislation, we regret that we cannot be responsible for any errors. This guide is not intended to be a definitive statement of the law in England. If you require precise or detailed information on the legislation mentioned in this guide, or on the legal implications for you in particular, you should consult a professional legal adviser.
- It is a criminal offence for accommodation providers, among others, to give guests misleading information on the prices charged for accommodation and any related facilities, services or goods.
- It is an offence not to do everything reasonably possible to correct a price indication that has subsequently become misleading if it is reasonable to assume that customers will still be relying on the original price information.
- Prices must include VAT if you are VAT registered.
Does this apply to me?
Almost certainly yes: the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) cover all statements of price.
It will normally apply to all accommodation providers whether the price is:
- stated in an advertisement, a brochure, a leaflet or on a website
- given in an email or text message
- given by letter or over the telephone
What does the legislation require?
It is a criminal offence for you to give guests misleading information on the prices charged for accommodation and any related facilities, services or goods.
It is also an offence not to do everything reasonably possible to correct pricing information that has subsequently become misleading if it is reasonable to assume that customers will still be relying on the original price information.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute's Business Companion website contains a series of both quick guides and in depth publications on all aspects of trading standards. Included on the site is a good practice guide on how to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. They also produce a guide specifically related to the pricing of goods and services, Price marking of goods for retail sale. This gives practical guidance on how to avoid giving misleading prices. Compliance with the guide, while not an absolute defence, will assist you in showing that you have not committed an offence under the Act.
For hotels and restaurants all non-optional extras (such as a cover charge) should be included in the price and accompanied by a clear statement about what the price includes. Where non-optional charges vary, you should give clear information about the charging structure at the outset to enable customers to easily calculate the cost before agreeing a purchase.
All prices given to customers should include VAT. The message is that customers should not get any surprises when it comes to paying the bill.