“The course of action taken by the ACCC follows more than a year of monitoring and informing the hospitality sector (including a number of warnings to specific businesses) about their obligations to comply with component pricing laws which were amended in May 2009,” ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said. “Restaurants and cafés are free to set surcharges, but they must provide consumers with a prominent single total price for goods and services, where they are able to be quantified at that time. This can be as simple as a separate menu or price column for the surcharge days. “This means the practice of putting a note such as ‘10 per cent surcharge applies on public holidays’ at the bottom of the menu but without the surcharge being included in a single price for the item is in breach of the law.”
Recently the ACCC inspected around 130 outlets across Australia and found a relatively small number of non-compliant menus.
“Many operators have heeded the ACCC’s warnings and changed their price representations,” Mr Samuel said. “Those which have not adjusted and continue to flout the law are exposed to the real risk of receiving an infringement notice from the ACCC.” Mr Samuel said compliance with the law is important because many consumers make a decision about where they dine based on value for money. “The component pricing laws not only help consumers make informed choices they also enable businesses to compete on price on equal grounds.”
Source: Hospitality Directory, 12 July 2010
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