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Media release: Chocolate factory fined for short changing customers

Noosa Chocolate Factory has been fined $12,400 (plus costs) after pleading guilty to multiple offences under trade measurement law at stores in Mt Gravatt and Brisbane.

Article date:
2/06/2017 9:00 AM

Noosa Chocolate Factory has been fined $12,400 (plus costs) after pleading guilty to multiple offences under trade measurement law at stores in Mt Gravatt and Brisbane.

Tobias Qld Pty Ltd, trading as Noosa Chocolate Factory, was found to be charging customers for the weight of packaging and not just the contents at more than one store over a period of eight months, and not properly labelling a product with a required measurement statement.

The fine was ordered by the Maroochydore Magistrates Court in proceedings brought by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of the National Measurement Institute (NMI).

The court was told that on three occasions in 2015 NMI trade measurement inspectors made trial purchases at Noosa Chocolate Factory stores, at Mt Gravatt on 27 May and at Queen Street Mall in Brisbane on 24 August and 16 December. Each time the weight of the packaging was included when the product was weighed and priced for sale, contrary to section 18KC(2) of the National Measurement Act 1960.

On 16 December 2015 NMI inspectors at the Queen Street Mall store also identified products packed in advance that did not include a weight statement on the label, contrary to section 18JA(2) of the National Measurement Act 1960.

National Measurement Institute General Manager Legal Metrology, Bill Loizides, said that the prosecution was launched because of an alleged history of non-compliance involving more than one store.

“The law is clear, customers should get what they are paying for,” Mr Loizides said.

“When goods are sold over the counter by weight customers should pay only for the product not the packaging material and package labels for goods should include a weight statement when required.

“Normally offences of this nature are quickly corrected by traders after an NMI inspector visits and provides advice on how they should meet their legal obligations, for example setting electronic checkout scales to automatically deduct the weight of the packaging during the weighing process.

“In this case the business did not correct the situation after receiving non-compliance notices.

“NMI had reasonable grounds to consider that Noosa Chocolate Factory had systemic issues that could lead to significant consumer detriment in aggregate, so it decided to refer the matter for prosecution.”

Mr Loizides said that shoppers who were concerned that products had been weighed incorrectly or had incorrect measurement labels should contact the National Trade Measurement hotline on 1300 686 664 or infotm@measurement.gov.au.

 
Media contact: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science media 02 6213 6308, media@industry.gov.au