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Single pricing laws bite.


Since 25 May 2009, the Trade Practices Act 1974 has required all businesses to state a single, all-inclusive price for any goods or services offered to consumers.  The single price must be the total of all amounts that are quantifiable at the time the price representation is made.  Specifically, the advertised price should include :

  • all charges payable by the customer to to supplier  (other than charges payable at the customer’s option) and
  • all taxes, duties or charges imposed on the suppler  in relation to the supply (i.e. GST  but not stamp duty) and
  • all statutory fees or charges impose the customer by legislation but collected and remitted by the supplier by agreement or arrangement.

Following the change to the law, the ACCC investigation found many cafés and restaurants added surcharges in breach of the law.   Following a warning, the ACCC issued Infringement Notices to establishments that did not correct their menus. Proceedings were instituted against traders, including the owners of Georges Bar and Grill and Steersons Steakhouse, which failed to  pay the Infringement Notice penalty of $6,600.  Those restaurants had added a percentage surcharge on Sundays and public holidays.  Their menus did not state the all-inclusive price of each item accurately, as required by the new laws.  The respective owners have agreed to pay civil penalties of $13,200 each.

The ACCC intends to remain vigilant in this area and will continue to use infringement notices  as an example to the market as a whole.

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