Restaurants with Illegal holiday surcharges under attack



Restaurants that force customers to pay illegal holiday surcharges are under fire for not complying with a year old change in the Trade Practices Act by the ACCC.

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By David Olsen

Restaurants that force customers to pay illegal holiday surcharges are under fire for not complying with a year old change in the Trade Practices Act by the ACCC.

ACCC illegal holiday surchargeRestaurant goers are being urged to dob offending restaurants in via Twitter using the #surcharge hashtag so Reportage can collate the data online and take up the issue with offending restaurants to inform them of their requirements. Reportage aims to confirm the illegal holiday surcharges and then name and shame the restaurants in question via their website using Google Maps.

Restaurants owners are encouraged to ensure their pricing complies with the changes in the Trade Practices Act 1974 last year. Changes last year mean that it will no longer be sufficient to write ‘X% surcharge on weekends’ at the bottom of a menu because X percent is a quantifiable component of the price that consumers will pay for their food or beverage on the weekend. This means you may need to provide a separate menu for times a surcharge is applied or consider pricing structures that do not require the use of different price components on your menu.

While X% extra on weekend/holidays pricing is no longer acceptable, the ACCC outlines a number of alternatives available to restaurant owners, including $X per head surcharges, or using alternate menus on holidays which accurately reflect the additional cost in each item rather than as a % surcharge to be added on by the customer.

For example: On Sundays the price of your menu item is only a part of the price the consumer must pay for that item—they will also be required to pay the 10 percent surcharge, so you must provide a single price, inclusive of the surcharge, for each item on your menu.

Deputy chairman of the ACCC, Michael Schaper believes that most restaurants are compliant, but urges consumers to make a complaint so the ACCC can act where breaches of the law are concerned.

“The ACCC is serious about the law. We act on complaints we get from consumers. We act on our own investigations and advice.” he told Reportage.

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