Can a shop charge more in store than on the internet?

Some businesses have an internet shop (online) and a normal shop (offline). They may wish to charge less for their products on the online shop. Can they do this?

The simple answer is yes they can charge different amounts if you buy online as oppsoed to going to the store.

Often running an online shop will have lower costs and therefore goods can be sold at a lower price. Some businesses even run their online shop as a totally separate business to their offline shop – so the online shop is always cheaper than the offline shop.

A problem can sometimes arise when a consumer looks at the website and assumes the online price applies to the offline store. It is perfectly foreseeable that this could happen – particularly if the online shop acts as an advertisement for the offline shop.

Businesses that sell to consumers have a duty not to engage in any practices that may mislead consumers. As such, if a different price is charged online this should be made clear to consumers. For example, the price could say ‘In store price £10. Online price £7’. This is to avoid a scenario where a consumer sees a price online, travels to the offline shop but finds the item is actually more expensive in the offline shop.

In my experience most large well known businesses generally charge the same price online and offline and if they have online exclusive prices this is normally made clear. The problems more often arise with smaller retailers that started off offline with 1 or 2 shops selling in their local area and then started an online shop selling throughout the country but charging less on the online shop.

Whether something is misleading to the point where it is illegal would have to be looked at on a case by case basis – but I would certainly advise businesses to make it clear that two prices apply depending on how you buy.

For something like a second hand car where its very likely that someone will view the website and then view the car in person, I would expect it to be made very clear that you get a discount in the unlikely event you buy directly from the website without inspecting the car.

4 Replies to “Can a shop charge more in store than on the internet?”

  1. I noticed restaurants charge far more advertising through just eat and deliveroo than in store, on top of delivery and service charges. For example I looked to order KFC food today and even the loudly advertised snack box meal deal which is advertised everywhere as costing £1.99 costs more through those sites. Every item is more expensive with some being comparably far more expensive. Now if they did this to cover cost of delivery it might be somewhat understandable but its not. So what gives?

  2. Hi, so was hoping for some help please. I recently purchased x3 products from the range. I had to do this online as when I was in the store it had a power cut so couldn’t continue with the transaction. I had to do this quickly as I wanted to catch next day delivery. I added the 3 products along with a few other things, quickly paid and received next day. They were priced in store at £89.99 so I thought that was the same price online anyway, when I received items I checked the delivery email and noticed I’d been charged £99.99×3 but the price on all 3 of the boxes was £89.99 (the price in store). I rang store after being on hold for over 2 1/2 hours in total to be told it’s my fault I bought them and they had a price increase, I’d said well I’ll return these and resend the ones with the correct pricing on but she was very rude and said she will send me a complaints form, I’ve emailed the online contact form and still no reply except only to ask for feedback. Just wondering if it’s allowed. I recently went back into store and they had scribbled out the price sticker rather than just remove it. Hoping for some help please xx

    • Didn’t you see the price when you bought online? If you have assumed then its your mistake and your problem. Depending on what the products are and if you haven’t used them then you may be able to return under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 but you may be responsible for cost of return postage or returning to the store if they allow it. Lots of free guidance on the consumer contracts regs online.

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