Be wary of false claims

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood Gwyn­neth Hay­wood is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer for Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

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.

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