Technology

Trivago loses appeal after misleading consumers over hotel ads

The Federal Court of Australia has dismissed an appeal by Trivago against an earlier decision which found the online travel company had breached Australian consumer law by making misleading representations about hotel room rates on its website and TV advertising.

In January 2020, the Federal Court ruled that Trivago had misled consumers by representing its website would quickly and easily help users identify the cheapest rates available for a given hotel.

The judge at first instance had found that Trivago did not sufficiently disclose to users that its website used an algorithm that gave prominence to accommodation providers paying the online travel company a higher payment fee (cost per click), meaning that the most prominent offers were often not the cheapest offers for consumers.

The primary judge also found that Trivago misled consumers through the use of strike-through prices and text in different colours because the company often compared the rate for a standard room with the rate for a luxury room at the same hotel.

Rod Sims, chair of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), said the Federal Court’s dismissal of Trivago’s appeal is a win for consumers and an important warning to comparison sites not to mislead consumers about the results they recommend.

“We brought this case because we were concerned that consumers were being misled by Trivago’s claims that their site was getting the best deal for consumers, when in fact they were shown the deals that benefited Trivago,” he said.

“Trivago’s conduct meant that consumers may have paid more for a room at a hotel than they should have, and hotels lost business from direct bookings despite offering cheaper prices.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said the industry body had been working on behalf of its members for several years to reform booking websites like Trivago and had brought the matter to the attention of the ACCC.

“Many of our members had serious concerns about the misleading practices of some comparison websites, and the work by the ACCC to investigate and bring the matter to court is welcome,” he said.

“It is good news for our industry as we try to recover from the toughest year in recent memory.”

The matter will now return to the primary judge, who will consider the orders sought by the ACCC against Trivago at a later date. The consumer watchdog is seeking orders for declarations, injunctions, penalties and costs.


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Technology

Tripfuser rebrands as Designer Journeys

The travel tech player has capped off a major period of transformation with a new name and a fresh lick of paint.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AFTA membership renewals climb, as calls for more govt support continue

It appears agent confidence in the federation is high amid wretched industry conditions.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“Clearly the last thing we want to do”: Qantas and Jetstar to stand down 2,500 crew

Sadly, the ongoing impact from the Greater Sydney lockdown has forced Alan Joyce’s hand.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

CLIA to host Virtual Cruise Forum, ACA announces new conference dates

Are you a front-row regular at the CLIA and ACA events? Well, you best jot down these new dates in your diary.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aussie aviation veteran to launch airline for US territory that could be the next Bali

Located just a six-hour flight from Brisbane, this tropical island has high hopes of becoming the new Bali once it’s able to establish a travel bubble with Australia.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Abercrombie & Kent launches dreamy new domestic itineraries

Clients with a little extra cash to burn and a hankering for luxury trimmings will be delighted by this news.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

ScoMo reveals further details of Australia’s reopening plan, as lockdown extended for South East Queensland

Just as the PM provides some hope of an end to lockdowns, one of the states has gone and tacked on a few extra days to its own.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie skydiving instructor dies saving man in “freak accident”

The instructor is being called a hero after police revealed he took the brunt of the fall, saving the other man’s life.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Court rules Qantas used COVID-19 as “opportunity” to axe employees

The TWU has claimed victory over the flying kangaroo in its stoush over the outsourcing of around 2,000 ground-handling operators.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Ponant unveils new social media toolkit for agents

Are your cruise bookings anchored at the moment? Get them moving out to sea again with this new toolkit.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Independent Collection by Event appoints GMs for newly added properties

Event Hospitality & Entertainment has announced a couple of new GMs. As in general managers – not great magicians or grenadine mixologists.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Three women embark on road trip after being cheated on by the same man

The trio became close friends and travel buddies after realising they had more in common than met the eye.

Share

CommentComments