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Advertising and pricing 

General information on advertising 

The main way to attract customers to a business is to advertise. Advertising can be very effective in reaching potential customers and showing them what businesses have to offer but unless it is properly targeted and effectively designed it can be a waste of money and give a business a bad name.

An important element of advertising is to be truthful. A well-informed consumer is a satisfied consumer and your best advertisement. Advertising is a business's public face.

Honest advertising involves:

  • advertising all aspects of your product accurately
  • always stating the full price of a product
  • if having a sale or special, make sure the goods or services are available in reasonable quantities for a reasonable period eg. if supply is limited, say so - 'x amount or limited quantities only'.

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Advertising guidelines for business and media staff 

Go to Advertising for business which provides information for businesses and a range of advertising checklists for media staff.

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Advertising standards 

The Advertising Standards Bureau made up of the Advertising Standards Board and the Advertising Claims Board is an industry funded self-regulatory system which provides a complaint resolution service. Decisions of both boards are guided by the 'Advertiser Code of Ethics'.

Consumers can lodge a complaint about an advertisement by writing to the:

Advertising Standards Bureau
Level 2, 97 Northbourne Avenue
Turner  ACT  2612
Telephone: (02) 6173 1500
Fax: (02) 6262 9833

Consumers can lodge a complaint by using the online complaint form on the Advertising Standards Bureau web site.

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Code of practice for computerised checkout systems in supermarkets 

Some supermarkets subscribe to a voluntary code, the Code of Practice for Computerised Checkout Systems in Supermarkets. These supermarkets display notices prominently at the store entry, advising customers that they are code participants. Providing the supermarket is a code participant, when an item is scanned at a price higher than that advertised or displayed on the shelf, a consumer is entitled to receive the first item free and all subsequent items at the lower shelf price. Consumers should check their cash register receipts carefully to ensure that the amount charged was the same as the shelf or advertised price. Where a difference is detected, consumers should request the store comply with the Code. If they refuse, the matter should be raised with the store Manager.

The Code provides that customer grievances be referred to the store manager or supervisor in the first instance. Where a grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the customer a formal complaint can be lodged with the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA). For further information about the Code or to lodge a complaint, please telephone ANRA on (02) 8249 4520 during business hours.

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Price control 

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW (IPART) sets maximum prices and undertakes pricing reviews of monopoly services supplied by government agencies such as electricity, water and public transport (including private bus companies). For more information, visit the IPART website.

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