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Business English: Buying and Selling Vocab

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Here we take a look at some of the specific English used in buying and selling. These are terms that are important to both customers and sellers:

cash on delivery

Cash on delivery (British) or 'collect on delivery' (American) means that you pay for something when it is delivered to you.


To exchange something means to swap an item for another. The seller allows the buyer to return his item and take a different one, usually because there was a problem with the one originally bought.

hire purchase

To buy something on hire purchase means you can pay to rent an expensive object and when the amount of rent paid is equal to the cost of the object, the buyer becomes the owner of the object.


An invoice is a document sent from a seller to a buyer which has all the information stating how much has been purchased and for what price. The buyer then pays the amount on the invoice. In a restaurant, at the end of the meal the waiter brings the bill which shows what we ordered and how much we should pay. An invoice is similar, but is only used in business.

on credit

To purchase something on credit means that no payment is paid immediately. The buyer agrees to pay for the object later.

payment in advance

To pay in advance means to pay for something before we get it.

payment in instalments

To pay in instalments means payment for something is made in regular intervals and not in one single payment. This is common for expensive items.

price reduction

Price reduction means to reduce the price of a product. To make the price cheaper.


A receipt is the written proof that you have paid for something. Whenever you buy something in a shop you are given a receipt.


To refund the price of something means that the seller will give the buyer his/her money back if he/she is unhappy with the product.


Link: 'In the shop' Shopping English