Your pricing rights

Pricing disputes can be tricky: you may think you know your rights, but if the retailer refuses to honour the advertised cost of a product, what can you do?

Many supermarkets are party to the code of practice for computerised checkout systems in their stores, whereby if an item scans at a higher than advertised or displayed price, then you should receive the first item free and subsequent items at the lower price. Supermarkets that are signatories to this code will display signs advising customers. You do not have to have paid for your goods or have left the premises to receive this entitlement, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The items which are the exception to above are:

  • liquor products
  • tobacco products
  • items without a barcode or Price Look-up code (PLU)
  • items with a shelf price above $50

If you are refused this entitlement, contact the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) on 02 8249 4520.

Where multiple prices are displayed for the same item, the business may sell you the product for the lowest displayed price, or remove the item from sale until the discrepancy is fixed. A displayed price is shown:

  • on the item
  • on any display material, such as shelves
  • in current catalogues
  • some that can be considered to apply to the goods
  • on a register or price scanner.

A displayed price does not refer to:

  • a price which is completely covered by a second price
  • a per unit price
  • a price not in Australian currency.

Any displayed prices must also include all fees and taxes, such as GST, and must include all aspects of the price that you must pay in order to buy the goods. If an establishment, such as a restaurant, charges a service charge on Sundays or public holidays, it does not need to have a separately-priced menu for such days, but it must clearly state that a sub-charge is payable.

Any goods or services over $75 must be accompanied by a receipt or proof of purchase, and you have the right to ask for one. Receipts for goods or services under $75 can also be requested and must be provided within seven days.

If you do not receive a satisfactory outcome to any of the above scenarios, you should contact the consumer protection agency in your state or territory. To find details of your nearest agency, visit choice.com.au

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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