What does “unverbindliche Preisempfehlung” mean?
The “Unverbindliche Preisempfehlung” (short UVP) is the recommended sales price.
Example: If you buy a chocolate bar, you can find a price on it. But it is not allowed for a producer to determine the end price (see remark below). So they print only a recommended price on it (and in real life most dealers want this price form customer).
The literal translation of unverbindliche Preisempfehlung is non-binding price suggestion.
This might sound a bit strange, if you take this as a message to the buyer. How could a price be a non-binding suggestion? Does this invite for bargaining?
This is in fact not the case: Actually, the unverbindliche Preisempfehlung does not address the (potential) buyer of the product but is a signal of the manufacturer to the retailers to sell the product at that price. Since it is non-binding, the retailers are legally allowed to set a different price when selling the product. In practice, though, the unverbindliche Preisempfehlung will most often be the actual price of the retailers, because of competition with other retailers in the market. (But details about that are a discussion on economics, not on German language)
Usually the term unverbindliche Preisempfehlung is used in advertisement of the manufacturer to indicate that the ad does not constitute a legal entitlement of the customer to buy the product at the price shown in the ad. In stating that the price shown in the ad is only a unverbindliche Preisempfehlung, the manufacturer states that they are not willing to bind themselves to that price statement and thus avoid creating such an entitlement.
There is an article about that term at Wikipedia:
Die unverbindliche Preisempfehlung (UPE), auch unverbindlicher Verkaufspreis (UVP) oder empfohlener Verkaufspreis ist der Preis, der dem Handel vom Hersteller, Importeur oder Großhändler als Weiterverkaufspreis an den Kunden empfohlen wird.
The corresponding English term (and linked Wikipedia article) is list price or manufacturer's suggested retail price, whcih pretty much conveys the meaning. Retailers may or may not follow this recommendation. For products that they often offer at a lower price we have the word Straßenpreis to talk about the price at which you can actually expect the product to be available.