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Government introduces clarity in Pricing Bill.



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NO.079

GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES CLARITY IN PRICING BILL

Today the Rudd Government introduced into Parliament the Trade Practices Amendment (Clarity in Pricing) Bill 2008 to tackle the problem of hidden fees and charges for consumer products.

The Bill would amend the Trade Practices Act 1974 to require that where a business makes a price representation to a consumer, and that amount is less than what the consumer will actually have to pay to acquire the goods or services, the business must also prominently state a total price as a single figure.

“It is not appropriate for a business to represent that a product costs a certain price and then use fine print disclaimers to reveal additional mandatory taxes, fees or other charges,” Mr Bowen said.

“This Government is committed to ensuring that consumers are not given the impression that something is cheaper than it really is - we want to empower consumers to make the best decisions about what they buy.”

An exposure draft of the Bill was released for public consultation in March 2008. Based on comments received from a range of businesses and consumer advocates, the Government believes the Bill will not impose unnecessary compliance burdens on businesses.

“The Government understands that in some cases the final price may depend on factors beyond a businesses control, which is why the Bill requires the total price to be stated only where a minimum total price is quantifiable at the time of the representation concerned,” Mr Bowen said.

“In addition, the amendments will not apply in respect of financial services, where detailed disclosure requirements already exist.”

“Gone are the days when consumers have to wonder what fees and charges are going to be added when they actually agree to buy something. This Bill gives clarity and certainty to buyers throughout Australia.”

Copies of the Bill and associated Explanatory Memorandum will be made

Media Release of 25/09/2008

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available on the Parliament website at www.aph.gov.au.

25 September 2008