Technology

ACCC produces memos in court backing up claims Trivago deceived consumers

Australia’s consumer watchdog’s court case against Trivago alleging the OTA deceived consumers officially kicked off on Monday.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) is accusing the OTA of withholding cheaper deals from consumers in favour of higher cost-per-click offers. The watchdog produced memos in court that showed Trivago invited advertisers to pay more to “block” rival offers, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Trivago’s website aggregates deals offered by online travel sites (like Expedia, Hotels.com and Amoma) and hotel proprietors for available rooms at a hotel and then highlights one price out of all their advertisers, which the ACCC alleges created an impression it is the best deal.

However, in many cases the highlighted price was not the cheapest available at that hotel.

“The website has not ever, and does not today, in fact, enable consumers who are searching on the web and using a Trivago website to quickly and easily identify the cheapest prices available for a particular hotel room,” Norman O’Bryan, SC, representing the ACCC, told the court on Monday, according the SMH.

“Trivago’s advertising was explicitly representing that Trivago was taking in hundreds of online advertising sources, and had millions of hotels around the world which it was sorting.

“The reality is if that advertiser did not bid enough cost per click to attract Trivago’s attention then that bid would be ignored, even if it was the best price offer.”

Trivago has already admitted it misled Aussies through its iconic TV adsbut told the SMH it will “vigorously dispute the allegations we prioritise when displaying offers on our website” in court.

“We’re constantly improving the services available through our website with the interests of Australian consumers in mind, and our advertising aims to reflect the significant benefits we provide,” the OTA said.

“This includes changes we made to our Australian website and advertising over the past several years to address the ACCC’s concerns.”

However, according to O’Bryan, while the OTA has adjusted its website in response to the case, it failed to communicate the fact that a large number of cost-per-click bids are excluded because they are considered too low.

“It is schoolyard economics that if you push advertisers to pay more they will likely raise prices in order to recover that extra outlay,” he told the court.

Trivago faces a multimillion-dollar fine if the ACCC wins the case.

Travel Weekly has contacted Trivago for comment.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Canberra Airport closed as fire services use airfield to fight “out of control” bushfire

Canberra Airport has cancelled departures and arrivals as its airfield is used by aviation fire services to facilitate aerial firefighting efforts.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Wrap: Accor’s new rideshare partner, Melia Hotels International opens first Thai hotel + MORE!

Welcome to the Hotel Wrap. This week’s addition features some gobsmackingly wonderful properties which we warn could cause a severe case of FOMO.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Road & Rail Wrap: Railbookers and Amtrak sale, Indian Railways to introduce pod hotel + MORE!

Planning your next overseas trip but riddled with flight shame? Bury some of it on receipt of this week’s Road & Rail Wrap.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Leading demographer says purpose is defining modern-day travel

by Christian Fleetwood

Purpose, aspiration, and the pursuit of authentic experiences are defining the way we travel, according to a well-known Australian demographer.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

The Excite Holidays news that agents didn’t want to receive

by Huntley Mitchell

The first creditors meeting about the collapse of Excite Holidays has revealed the wholesaler’s debt is estimated to be up to $35.1 million, and the news gets worse.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Australia launches ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign to boost bushfire recovery

It’s yet another campaign from Tourism Australia. Hopefully this one won’t need to be pulled like the Kylie ad.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Webjet boss scores massive pay rise, as sale speculation lingers

by Huntley Mitchell

John Guscic’s salary has almost doubled, meaning he’s probably down at his local Maserati dealership right now purchasing a new sports car or few.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Viking unveils new online trade marketing centre

Do you find selling Viking is a bit of a breeze? Well, prepare to put both feet up and recline your office chair thanks to the cruise line’s newest offering.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Velocity Frequent Flyer’s CEO to fly the coop

Karl Schuster will be shedding a tear or two over his impending departure, as he prepares to kiss goodbye unlimited Velocity Frequent Flyer points and free stays on Sir Richard’s private island.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Flight diverted after passenger takes off pants, kicks chairs and hits flight attendant

According to fellow passengers, the man’s girlfriend also got involved by spitting at them and threatening legal action.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Boeing: Judge orders pilots suing manufacturer over 737 MAX to reveal their names

by Christian Fleetwood

Pilots suing Boeing over lost wages have been given an ultimatum: reveal their names or withdraw the case.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Failed travel agency issued customers fake plane tickets before going under

Yet another travel agency has filed for liquidation, this time after issuing customers with fake plane tickets.

Share

CommentComments