In Australia, as in many countries, pricing conduct is strictly regulated under competition laws (also called antitrust laws in other countries) as well as consumer rights laws.
In particular, it’s strictly prohibited to have an agreement, arrangement or understanding between competing businesses (such as two authors) about what price point to sell at, also known as "price fixing".
What this means in practice is that if you sell items in an author-driven pricing category (i.e. a category where authors set their own prices for their items), you must make all pricing decisions independently. In other words, how to price your work is a commercial decision you will need to make for yourself.
It also means that discussion about pricing of items in author-driven pricing categories is not permitted under any circumstances. This is regardless of whether or not you are an author selling in this category and whether the discussion takes place in public (e.g., on the forums or item comments) or in private (e.g., via an email between two authors).
For more information about your obligations in relation to discussing pricing, please refer to the Community Guidelines.
Discounts & Sales
While it’s okay to promote temporary price changes/reductions on your item as a “discount” or “sale”, there are important consumer law obligations to be aware of when doing so. Generally, it is not lawful to advertise any special prices or imply substantial savings when your items are in fact normally sold at those “special prices”. This may create a false impression for customers and be considered misleading conduct. Enforcement agencies around the world have broad powers to enforce the law and may impose fines or take authors to court for misleading statements about discounts.
Unfortunately, there is a substantial grey area when it comes to discounts. It can be very hard to know whether your item has been at its original price long enough for you to be legally able to call the new price a “sale” or “discount”. Also, if your sale runs for long enough, the sale price could legally be considered the new “normal” price for your item, making it misleading for you to continue calling it a sale or referring to it as a discounted price.
Finally, a reminder that it is against the law to price your item at an amount other than that which you actually intend to sell your item. This means that “overpricing” your item (for example at $1,000,000), only to then lower your price temporarily in response to a sales inquiry from a customer is not allowed. This conduct is considered by law to be misleading or deceptive and places you at risk. This is the case for any pricing practice (both overly high or low) where it is clear the author has no real intention of selling the item at that price.
When determining whether misleading pricing has occurred, we may consider any evidence that the advertised price is not reflective of the actual intended sale price, including (but not limited to):
- The usual/reasonable pricing for similar items of that type within the broader industry;
- Whether the author has made any sales at the advertised price (or at any price close to that price); or
- Whether the author has been observed to temporarily lower the price in response to a sales inquiry from a customer
Our new Discount and Promotional Pricing Guidelines make it easy by setting clear criteria for the promotion of discounts or special prices. Remember, you are free to sell at whatever price you like - these guidelines only affect your ability to promote a particular price as being a “sale”, “discount” or other special price. We will never change the Author Price for items in author driven pricing categories, but to keep Envato and Authors on the right side of the law, we may modify or disable items which are promoted in contravention of these guidelines.