Multiple pricing is when a business displays an item with more than one price. The business must sell the product for the lowest displayed price or withdraw it from sale until the price is corrected. This applies regardless of where the price is displayed, in a catalogue, online or in a television advertisement.
The ‘displayed price’ is a price:
- attached to or on:
- the goods
- anything connected or used with the goods
- anything used to display the goods
- published in a catalogue available to the public, when:
- the deadline to buy at that price has not passed
- the catalogue is current (not out-of-date)
- that reasonably appears to apply to the goods, including a partly-obscured price, or displayed on a register or scanner.
A price is not a ‘displayed price’ when it is:
- entirely obscured by another price
- a price per unit of measure and shown as an alternative means of expressing the price
- not in Australian currency, or unlikely to be interpreted as Australian currency.
A price published in a catalogue or advertisement ceases to be a displayed price when a retraction is published to a similar circulation or audience.
If a supplier specifies that a catalogue price applies only in a particular region, they can display a different price in a catalogue for another region.
Failing to sell goods for the lowest display price can lead to maximum civil and criminal penalties of $5000 for a body corporate and $1000 for an individual.
A supplier must not promote or state a price that is only part of the cost, unless also prominently advertising the single (total) price.
The single price must be:
- clear at the time of the sale
- 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, and
- the amount of any tax, duty, fee, levy or charges (for example, GST).
A single price for services supplied under a contract that allows periodic payments does not have to be displayed as prominently as the component prices.
The maximum civil and criminal penalties for failing to comply with single price requirements are $1.1 million for a body corporate and $220,000 for an individual.