On 4 November 2010, the Federal Court ordered two restaurants to
pay penalties of $13,200 each for breaching the law requiring a
single, all-inclusive price to be clearly stated to consumers. This
follows the introduction earlier this year of new laws under the
Trade Practices Act (which from next year will be known as
the Competition and Consumer Act 2010), requiring all
businesses to state a single price for any goods or services that
The orders were made by consent after the Australian Competition
and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took action against
Helmos Enterprises (NSW) Pty Ltd, trading as Georges Bar and Grill,
and Gourmet Goody's Family Restaurant Pty Ltd, trading as
The ACCC alleged that the menus failed to tell customers the
full price they would pay on a Sunday or a public holiday, relying
instead on a qualification indicating the application of a
percentage surcharge. To know the true charge on those days,
customers had to add the surcharge to the price listed on the menu.
The menus therefore failed to state the single price of each item
accurately, as required by the new laws.
Earlier this year the ACCC surveyed a number of cafés and
restaurants and found that a number of menus did not comply with
this section of the law. Infringement Notices were issued to those
establishments that did not correct their menus after an ACCC
warning. Proceedings were instituted against traders that did not
pay the Infringement Notice penalty of $6,600
The ACCC will continue to be very active in this area and all
businesses need to be aware of their obligations in relation to
pricing in order to avoid scrutiny from the regulator, which will
continue to look for infringements that it can use as an example to
the market as a whole.
Swaab Attorneys was the highest ranking law firm and the
13th best place to work in Australia in the 2010 Business Review
Weekly Best Places to Work Awards. The firm was a finalist in the
2010 BRW Client Choice Awards for client service and was named the
winner in the 2009 Australasian Legal Business Employer of Choice
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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