Hotels

Meriton fights back against ACCC court case

Daisy Melwani

Meriton has fought back against the court case brought by the Australian Competition Consumer Commission saying proceedings are “unnecessary”.

The Court case brought will have its first case management hearing on Friday, 9 December 2016 in the Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne over failing to remind guests to post TripAdvisor reviews.

However, Meriton’s Managing Director, Harry Triguboff AO says the proceedings are unnecessary.

“They told us that we had been doing the wrong thing last year and we fixed it straight away. We stopped using the Review Express service for 5 months, and a lot of our No. 1 rankings were unaffected,” Triguboff said in a statement.

They want to fine us, but we will fight that. The public has not been misled. The public has much
better judgment than the Government is giving them credit.”

Meriton denies the public was, or could have been, misled or deceived as alleged and will fight
the proceedings.

“We agree that in some hotels we did the wrong thing. As soon as the matter was brought to Triguboff’s attention back in October 2015, he made sure the behaviour was corrected immediately and the ACCC knows that,” Meriton’s General Counsel, Joseph Callaghan said.

“It’s important to be clear about this ‐  we are not talking about false reviews as has been the case with other businesses (some of which have not been pursued by the ACCC). We are talking about some guests not receiving an email reminder to review their stay. Anybody can say whatever they like on TripAdvisor.”

They do not need an invitation or a reminder from Meriton to post a positive or negative review. We have said to the ACCC all along, show us the class of people that would have negatively reviewed their stay but did not, only because they didn’t get a reminder email. Keep in mind that there is a TripAdvisor notice in every room.”

Meriton welcomes more than 1 million guests to its serviced apartments across the country, every year. The ACCC proceedings are to do with approximately 1600 guests (over eleven months), who did not receive the email reminder, which is comparatively very low.”

The Court proceedings will be heard and decided in 2017.

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