Public Holiday Surcharge to be or not to be

Posted on by Mark Fernandez

Did you know that on Public Holidays it is now illegal to have advertised that a 10% surcharge applies? For those restaurants, cafes, bars, or businesses that charge additional levies and taxes (tourism / travel); and some service industries on public holidays, are now required to have all advertised prices include any surcharge. In essence you will need a second set of menus/ pricing, one for normal trading days and one that the staff will put out on public holidays………

Siobhán O’Gara from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has supplied some interesting information on this very topic just for BDA readers……

“The new Competition and Consumer Act 2010* became fully effective on
1 January 2011.  The Australian Consumer Law is a schedule to the new Act and its introduction marks the biggest reform to federal consumer law for 36 years. 

The reforms ensure consumer protection laws are consistent across Australia.  The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) will provide the same level of protection to all consumers, wherever they live.  Similarly, businesses will have the same obligations and responsibilities wherever they operate, which eases the regulatory burden on business and simplifies trading across state and territory borders.

The ACL introduced new laws which took effect on 1 July 2010 relating to unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts.  The provision does not apply to business-to-business contracts. Under this law unfair contract terms will be void and unenforceable. However, the contract will continue to bind the parties if it is capable of operating without the unfair term.

Under the ACL a business must not promote, advertise or state a price that is only part of the cost that a customer has to pay, unless the total single price is also prominently advertised, promoted or stated. This law affects businesses that apply surcharges (cafés / restaurants); incur additional levies and taxes (tourism / travel); and some service industries.

The consumer guarantees legislation replaces the old laws relating to implied conditions and warranties.  The consumer guarantees give consumers a basic set of protections when they purchase goods and services from retailers, importers, manufacturers and service providers.  Any breach of these consumer guarantees is directly enforceable as a contravention of the ACL.

The ACL includes: 

– A new national regime covering unsolicited sales practices
(door-to-door selling, telesales, other direct marketing);

– New rules in relation to lay-by agreements and

– A new national product safety regime.

Businesses need to be aware of the application of new ACL and will need to adapt their processes to ensure that information provided to consumers in relation to consumer rights is not misleading or deceptive.”

For further information please refer to the ACCC’s website: or

If you need any more information please do not hesitate to send me an email @            

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