Business Personal Finance

Friday 23 March 2018

'The sofa I want is €500 more in shop than online - are retailers allowed to charge this?'

(Stock photo - Getty)
(Stock photo - Getty)

Aine Carroll, Director of Communications with the CCPC (


I am looking for a new sofa. I researched my options online and found one I really liked from a well-known retailer. I then went into one of their branches to see the sofa and to my dismay it was €500 more expensive in the shop than if I were to buy it online. Are retailers allowed to charge different prices for the same item in this way? Helen, Castleknock, Dublin 15


Yes - the retailer can charge a difference price online and in-store. There are no price controls for retailers selling products so they can set their own prices for products sold in-store and online. It is also a business decision if a retailer wishes to vary their price online versus in-store as these are considered separate ways of doing business with consumers. So, once the correct price is displayed online (with regard to online sales) and in-store (for in-store sales), the retailer is complying with pricing legislation.

In your case, you will probably make significant savings by buying the sofa online, even if you have to pay a delivery charge. You also have added protections if you buy online. This includes the right to return something within 14 days from when you receive it if you change your mind - as long as what you are buying is not customised or personalised in any way. When you buy online, you can cancel an order for any reason within this time period, even if you just change your mind or don't like the sofa when it arrives.

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