Price discrimination implies that sellers may be in a position to charge different prices to different categories of purchasers for identical goods and services sold under exactly the same circumstances. In these cases, there is no or limited freedom of choice on the part of a purchaser belonging to a special category. The principle adopted is that variations in price are to be regarded as price discrimination when different prices are charged for identical units sold under exactly the same circumstances in a clearly separable market. Price variations due to such discrimination do not constitute differences in volume.
In service industries, for example in transportation, producers may charge lower prices to groups of individuals with typically lower incomes, such as pensioners or students. If these are free to travel at whatever time they choose, this must be treated as a price discrimination. However, if they are charged lower fares on condition that they travel only at certain times, typically off-peak times, they are being offered lower-quality transportation. If price variations are a sign of differences in quality, the variations should be reflected in variations in volume and not in prices.
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Validity of the definition
- Valid until (31 December 2078)