Incorrect prices

This Saturday, a well-known problem in retail of incorrect prices on an item was highlighted. What happened was that the cover price of The Age was advertised on Saturday as $3.00 but on the paper the price listed at $2.80. So people were shocked when they came to buy the Age marked as $2.80, when it scanned at the point of sale, it came up as $3.00. It happens and to its credit, the Age printed an apology which is here.

The question is here. What is the legal responsibility the merchant has in this situation, which is certainly not uncommon? So on behalf of my clients, I made some enquires.

From what I have been told and what I understand and note here I am not a lawyer.

If the sale of the item has already gone through and the person has paid for it, then you cannot withdraw the item from sale. For example, a person, throws the $2.80 on the counter, you say thank you, and they are leaving; the sale has gone through, nothing you can do now.

However if the sale has not yet happened, and if the item is incorrectly priced, the merchant has the choice on whether to honor the incorrect price or not. There is no law that you must sell the item. If you decide not to sell the item at this incorrect price, I suggest that you withdraw all these items from sale until you find out what is going on. Once you fix up the price only then sell it.

Note if your argument is that its an error and your potential customer complains to the authorities then you may have to justify that *error* statement, I doubt in this case you would have any trouble.