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Getting Quotes for work – what’s the story with the VAT?

I’m guessing that most people know this fact, but I’ll put it before you again – shops and service providers when quoting prices, fees or charges, must give their total price which must include all applicable charges and taxes.

I only bring this up now after a couple of recent experiences where, as an individual consumer, I have requested quotes for services from two different companies – in two different lines of work. Yet both of these companies have quoted me a price which was non-inclusive of VAT in the first instance of my speaking to them.

According to the Citizens Information website, the Prices and Charges (Tax-Inclusive Statements) Order, 1973 requires that all prices marked on goods or prices displayed or quoted at the retail level and all charges for services displayed or quoted should be tax-inclusive (e.g. VAT) except where it is intended solely for a business customer.

On each occasion, I was contacting these people in a personal capacity and using a personal e-mail address – there could be no confusion that this could be in any way related to Value Ireland.

The first business that did this to me lost out on business because of it. They were expensive from the start, but a price I was willing to pay for their service – but with 21% VAT added, I couldn’t justify the expense any further.

The second business, I’m still following up with.

Lesson learned: Even though service providers are supposed to be quoting you a price inclusive of VAT, always confirm that this is the case before making any decisions. The simple question, “and does that price include all VAT and other charges” will reduce the potential for any confusion in the future.

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