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Updated : 25/11/2016

Pricing and payments

When you make a purchase, you have to be clearly informed about the total price of the goods or services inclusive of all taxes and additional charges.

For online purchases, you should explicitly acknowledge, for example by pressing a button, that you are aware that placing an order implies an obligation to pay.

Surcharges: fees for the use of cards and other means of payment

If a trader wishes to surcharge you for using a specific means of payment - for instance a credit card - then the fee cannot be higher than what it actually costs him to process your payment.

In some countries such charges may be banned altogether.

Charges for additional services

You must give your consent to any additional payment requested by the trader, for example express delivery, gift wrapping or travel insurance.

A trader is not permitted to charge you for these services unless you explicitly opted for them. Using a pre-ticked box on the trader's website does not constitute such consent and you would be entitled to reimbursement of any payment which has been collected in such a way.

Sample story

Ewa from Poland bought some books from an online trader - but her credit card was charged with more than the final amount displayed at the point of sale on the trader's website.

As EU rules oblige traders to display correct and complete pricing information before a customer makes a purchase online, Ewa reported this matter to both the company and the Polish authorities. After intervention by the authorities, she was refunded the difference.

Price discrimination

As an EU national you can't be charged a higher price when buying products or services because of your nationality or country of residence.

Some price differences can however be justified, if they are based on objective criteria other than nationality.

Sample story: sometimes differences in price can be justified

Bart, from the Netherlands, visits his friend in Germany and goes to a swimming pool. He is charged a higher price than local residents, and wonders if this is unlawful price discrimination.

In this case, the price difference is justified. The swimming pool is run by the local authority and financed by local taxes, so local residents have already contributed to the running of the pool and therefore enjoy a lower entry price.

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