Trivago fined by Australian Federal Court for misleading customers on pricing
Australia’s Federal Court has found travel comparison site Trivago guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct over prices advertised and commission rates.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought the charges against the travel comparison site for suggesting that its first-placed prices on properties were the best.
However, hotels were instead to have been ranked based on how much commission each paid Trivago.
The company, which is owned by US-based Expedia and Booking.com, was found to have not suggested the best prices, which were filtered out of its list.
In some cases, the company was found to have compared prices of standard and luxury rooms.
The Australian Federal Court will schedule a hearing in coming months to determine the penalties, according to news.com.au.
The Australian reports that Trivago has changed some of its tactics following the ACCC’s probe.
The ACCC has alleged that Trivago advertisements from December 2013 presented the site as an impartial and objective price comparison service that helped to identify the cheapest prices for hotel rooms, but prioritised advertisers who were willing to pay the highest cost per click to the company.
“Based on Trivago’s highlighted price display on its website, we allege that consumers may have formed the incorrect impression that Trivago’s highlighted deals were the best price they could get at a particular hotel when that was not the case,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in August.
“We allege that because of the design of Trivago’s website and representations made, consumers were denied a genuine choice about choosing a hotel deal by making choices based on this misleading impression created by the Trivago website.”
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