Be wary of false claims
Hospitality businesses such as bars, cafes and restaurants are free to make any claim they wish about their goods provided it is clear, accurate and truthful.
The Australian Consumer Law prohibits businesses from making claims that are false, misleading or deceptive, so whatever is stated and described on the menu is exactly what you must receive in a hospitality venue.
If an item is described as gluten-free, free-range, preservative-free or from a specific country or location of origin then that is what must be served if you have ordered it.
The item cannot be substituted with a similar product if the venue runs out of stock between the time you ordered and received it without first informing you of the change.
Similarly, a restaurant or bar must disclose that service tips will be added to the final bill before an order is placed to avoid being in breach of the ACL.
Venues should disclose any added costs of items such as water, condiments or side dishes, so consumers can choose whether they are willing to pay for these items.
If a venue serves tap water for free and flat or non- carbonated mineral water at a cost, this should be made clear.
These items cannot be added to the bill later if the consumer has not been offered the choice to accept them or not if they are not complimentary.
Contactless technology that allows us to pay with a wave of a card seems to be resulting in a lower take-up of receipts and this becomes a problem when there’s a query about how much was charged and what for.
Ask for and check your receipt to make sure you have been charged correctly and tips that were not disclosed have not been added inadvertently or deliberately.
The ACL prohibits a business from making representations that are incorrect or likely to create a false impression.
This includes false or misleading representations about the origin of goods, or their quality, value, price or age.
A representation is a claim or statement that is made by one party to another which can also involve any online claim.