Multiple pricing occurs when a supplier displays more than one price for the same item or service.
If a supplier displays the same item with more than one price then they must sell it for the lowest displayed price or withdraw the item until the price is corrected.
A price published in a catalogue or advertisement is a ‘displayed price’. If mistakes in catalogues or advertisements have occurred, they can be fixed by publishing a retraction in a publication with a similar circulation to the original advertisement.
A supplier must not promote or state a price that is only part of the cost, unless also prominently advertising the single (total) price.
A service that is supplied under a contract that allows periodic payments then a single price does not have to be displayed as prominently as the component prices. The single price does not have to include a charge for sending goods from the supplier to the consumer, unless the supplier is aware of a minimum charge that must be paid.
The single price must be:
- clear at the time of the sale; and
- as prominent as the most prominent component of the price.
The single price is the total of all measurable costs and includes:
- any charge payable;
- the amount of any tax, duty, fee, levy or charges (for example, GST); and
- any pre-selected optional extras.
Civil and criminal penalties apply for failing to comply with single price requirements.
The Australian Consumer Law provides an exemption from these requirements to cafes and restaurants. Café and restaurant menu surcharges are not required to adhere to the component pricing requirements as long as:
- the menu displays a surcharge for the supply of food or beverage on specified days by the restaurant or café;
- the menu displays the following words ‘a surcharge of [percentage] applies on [the specified day or days]’; and
- the prescribed words are displayed in a transparent and prominent manner.
A Western Australian consumer is buying clothes from an internet site of a Victorian company. If the delivery price was a standard $10 anywhere in the country, then that price must be included as part of the sale price. If the delivery charges increase depending on weight of items or distance then those fees do not have to be included in the sale price. However, any delivery fees must be shown clearly before the final purchase process so the consumer is aware of the full costs before deciding to purchase the item.