Thursday, 16 July 1970
Dáil Eireann Debate
Dr. Browne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if, in order to expose shopkeepers who might be overcharging, he will consider requiring that they display clearly to the public all prices plus percentage of turnover tax charged.
Mr. Clinton: Of course, we will have to agree with the Chair anyway. Could I ask the Minister now if he would issue a guide list which would show, say, that goods costing 1s would have a plus of so much, goods costing 1s 6d would have a plus of so much, and so on, so that customers could be shown this list and be told that it is the official list? The shopkeepers are in serious trouble about this because customers feel they are overcharging sometimes when they are not overcharging.
Mr. Tully: Is the Minister not aware that it is becoming a common practice in a number of shops to display prices and after the goods have been wrapped and are about to be paid for the turnover tax is added on to the price put on the list? Could the Minister do anything about that, to have an all-in price indicated?
Mr. Lalor: As I said in my reply, a statutory requirement to do this would not be enforceable because of the difficulty seen already in regard to enforcement of the requirements that have already been sought.
Mr. Lalor: I am talking about the requirement of having, in a general retail store, a large list displayed of the prices of all articles on sale in the store and I am suggesting seriously that an order to that effect would be rather unenforceable because the storekeeper would not have room to list all the commodities.
Mr. Cluskey: Is the Minister aware that in a majority of supermarkets the price is displayed but the difficulty is that this is the price less the turnover tax? All that would be required would be to add the turnover tax in plus form in order to make it clear to the customer what his commitment would be before he purchased.
Mr. Lalor: According to what the Deputy says the customer knows what his total commitment will be. If the supermarket displays the prices of all goods and it is understood that there is 2½ per cent chargeable on top of that, well then it is——
Mr. Cluskey: The prices are displayed in such a way that it is conveyed that this is the total charge and after a person has selected goods and  has arrived at the check-out there is an additional charge for turnover tax.
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