Aussie restaurant caught breaking 23-year-old rule

A glaring menu omission has left diners seeing red.

A disgruntled diner has called out a Melbourne restaurant after noticing a glaring detail on its menu. The patron vented his frustration after noticing the eatery displaying its menu prices without including GST, leaving customers to work out the full cost.

"If you thought weekend surcharges were bad..." the Reddit user posted on Saturday, alongside a photo of the restaurant's menu. In the caption, the customer made note of a stuck-on amendment at the bottom of the menu which reads "prices exclude GST".

Melbourne restaurant menu stating that all prices are exclusive of GST
The Melbourne restaurant's menu states that all prices are exclusive of GST. Source: Reddit

Other users angrily pointed out that GST, or goods and services tax, must be included on all price listings. "That's illegal in Australia," one fired-up Aussie declared. Others bemoaned the practice of omitting taxes from advertised prices in foreign countries, with one traveller writing, "I'm currently on vacay in the States, and it is frustrating when I purchased something, only to hear the total is +tax."

After paying the bill by card, the restaurant customer confirmed that each item on his receipt showed the same price as the menu, with GST added to the subtotal.

What the law says

Speaking to Yahoo News, a rep for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said, "businesses must display a total price of a product or service as a single figure. This price must be the minimum total cost — the lowest amount a customer could pay, including any taxes, duties and unavoidable or pre-selected extra fees."

The ACCC website further explains that "Businesses must not display prices that are wrong or likely to create a false impression. This includes prices displayed in store, in advertising or whenever communicating with customers."

Hands reaching for pizza
The diner said the pizza was 'quite good' but was disappointed that GST wasn't included in the restaurant's menu prices. Source: Getty

The GST came into effect on 1 July 2000 to replace the previous federal wholesale sales tax system and phase out various state and territory government taxes, duties and levies. It currently sits at 10 per cent.

"If a business breaks the rules about displaying prices, we can investigate," the ACCC spokesperson said, but encouraged anyone who believes a price display is misleading to seek a solution with the business in question, adding, "Your first step is to contact the business to explain the problem."

Diner takes action

Spurred on by outraged social media users, the Melbourne diner later explained that he'd tried to contact the business, and would report the issue to the ACCC if he didn't hear back.

Yahoo reached out to the restaurant for comment, but had not heard back at the time of publication.

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