Shopping in Italy is an unforgettable and amazing experience as the country offers something for every traveler irrespective of the budget. From high end fashion stores to outlet malls Italy is the perfect place for shopping.
Here are some of the basic tips every shopper should know.
- Price tags must be displayed. In Italy all items should be tagged and price tags should be visible to consumers, this is to prevent anyone being taken advantage of by a shopkeeper looking to up the price unexpectedly. If you notice a missing tag just bring it to the attention of the store manager.
- Bargaining. Within limits, bargaining is allowed in Italy. You will usually have better luck in smaller stores or at the market. Generally items like food and electronics are not bargained over, but you can always try. The best way to bargain is to ask for a small discount, especially if buying more than one item.
- 20% Sale tax already included. Italy doesn’t have sale taxes but it has the I.V.A., which is 20% of the selling price. The I.V.A. is already included in the price and is the seller’s responsibility to collect. However, it is the responsibility of the customer to always ask for a receipt and keep it when leaving the store as proof of payment.
- Tax refunds for foreigners. The I.V.A. is actually refundable for foreigners. At the airport, train station and other borders, there are kiosks where the tax can be refunded. It is important to keep all your receipts and have a legal ID as proof of your foreign nationality.
- Credit cards vs. cash. There is no real difference. Sometimes paying in cash might favor the bargaining process, but paying by credit card is not usually a deal breaker. If a credit card is used a signature is always required. The credit card receipt is not considered a receipt of purchase, and is therefore no good as a proof of sale. Make sure to always request a receipt of the transaction.
- Opening times. Most stores close at lunchtime for one or two hours and opening hours also change from summer to winter. In recent years more stores are open all day, but it is not yet a common thing. Even some banks and all city gas stations close for lunch. Supermarkets, fast-food restaurant chains, bars and shopping malls don’t usually close for lunch.
- Returning merchandise. There is really no such thing as returning purchased goods for a refund in Italy. Only very few large department stores allow refunds. If there is something wrong or the customer changes their mind the store will usually either replace the item or provide store credit.