Is This Overcharge of Birthday Card OK?

Went to buy a card from a convenience store (used to be a newsagent, but they're rapidly disappearing).
The price on the card was $3.95, but was asked to pay $5.95 - which is some mark up! I complained saying under consumer law the price displayed must be the price paid and the sales person just gave it to me at the displayed price.
I then noticed it was RRP, so then thought they could probably charge what they like. The card was an Australian one, so not an overseas RRP. What do you think?


  • I think you could have chosen to buy elsewhere but you didn't.

  • Yep, RRP is just that, a recommendation. The retailer can sell the item for whatever they like.
    I think you are right though, under the law, the price displayed can not be more than the price paid, they should have slapped a price sticker over the RRP.
    You did the right thing holding them to account, keep up the fight for consumer rights.

    • Is it the law though because Australia's regulation is often remarkably wishy washy when it comes to regulating business with a lot of weasel words such as "reasonable" and things not defined exactly so it's left up to interpretation.

    • That's my point - if there had been a price on the card display unit, or on the card itself, then the retailer would be OK, but the price on the card did not marry with what the cashier charged.

      • but the price on the card did not marry with what the cashier charged.

        Was the price on the card put there by the manufacturer or the retailer/shop?

        If it was put there by the manufacturer then the shop is not obliged to sell it for that price and can charge whatever they want.

        If it was put there by the shop and then advised different price at the cashier, then either it was an error or they are being misleading.

  • Pricing error by the store is not an offence. Even WW and Coles only follow a completely voluntary code of practice regarding price errors

  • A customer of ours in Jakarta printed cards for many Australian distributors. Ones that had (for example) $2.95 printed on the back were sold to the distributors for less than 5c. A box of 10 Christmas Cards sold by one of the major discount chains here, and that had a price of $5.95 on the box were sold to them for 25c
    Nice mark-ups!

    • I doubt these store owners were buying from your customer in Jakarta. Those cards probably god sold between a few middlemen before they reached this store owner. And this store owner wouldn't have had a chance of buying these cards if it weren't for the middlemen. They could spend a few hours looking for your friend in Jakarta, but after the time commitment of doing that they would have had to pay themselves more than the cards are even worth if they only sell a few of them. I'd say many small brick and mortar businesses would be getting a lot of their stuff through fairly standard Australian suppliers still.

      • I can actually offer some insight here.

        I do bookkeeping for a local gift shop; one of their more consistent sale lines is the cards. They pay about 44c per card and envelope (including GST) from the supplier. This is without any benefits like a franchise chain or bulk discounts to help drive the price down.

        I don't doubt that 25c per box is available, but given the turnover volumes, lead times for production & shipping, actual shipping costs, then it is definitely more viable - even though it's more expensive - to utilise local suppliers with their existing production chain in place.

        Same with the eBay trinkets I love to buy. Yes, that $2 component is about 20c to make and available for 50c from China, but the 3 days of postage (plus assurance of a local business, with local law compliance, and easier returns etc) means I will willingly pay the 'Australia tax' markup for the additional benefits.

  • -1 vote

    Those cards probably god sold between a few middlemen before they reached this store owner.

    So God was a greeting card salesman ?
    And the "middlemen" , there was 3 or them, and they were quite wise ?

  • Cards of any type are the biggest scams,not to mention the environmental vandalism. Just think about it, someone gets the card, reads it for all a mere 30 seconds…. and that’s it. At best they may keep it for a day or 2, then into the bin. Total money waster.

    Ok, there maybe some instances where a card may hold sentimental values, say for instance a card someone gave you before they shortly passed away who was very close to you. But the majority of cards for most occasions is a rort.

    • +1 vote

      I hate cards as my wife likes to keep them, she has all our wedding cards, the kids first birthday cards and who knows what else.

  • +1 vote

    Cards of any type are the biggest scams,not to mention the environmental vandalism

    There is the 'e-card' option. I guess they are still available. You create a little card thing and send the receiver a link.
    Saves the environment plus keeps costs down (no postage fee, plus even the e-card used to be free, maybe still are)

    • Getting an e-card to ‘save the environment’ over hand writing a message to a loved one is the point I would say environmentalism will cause more harm to a persons social life than the environment itself.

      Cards are recyclable anyway, but people like keeping those things for sentimental value. I keep cards going back decades. Real cards makes people feel human over a robotic and synthetic e-card.

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