Tricky Tri­vago in strife

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - JOHN ROLFE SUN­DAY DE­CEM­BER 2 2018

TRAVEL web­site Tri­vago could face a fine of as much as $10 mil­lion af­ter ad­mit­ting it mis­led Aus­tralian con­sumers in as many as 400,000 TV ad­ver­tise­ments.

It has con­fessed to falsely claim­ing high­lighted ho­tel deals were the best price and dis­played dodgy dis­counts by com­par­ing prices be­tween stan­dard and lux­ury rooms with­out telling users.

Tri­vago’s busi­ness is based on ag­gre­gat­ing of­fers from dif­fer­ent book­ing web­sites, which pays Tri­vago a fee when a con­sumer clicks on their deal.

Based in Dus­sel­dorf, Tri­vago’s global rev­enue for the first nine months of 2018 was $1.15 bil­lion and it has made a TV and so­cial me­dia star of the face of its ads, Aus­tralian ac­tor Gabrielle Miller.

That in­come came from 560 mil­lion click-throughs. Aus­tralia is one of its big­gest mar­kets out­side Europe and the US.

The Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion filed ac­tion against Tri­vago in the Fed­eral Court in Au­gust and the ad­mis­sions re­vealed to­day by the Sun­day Tas­ma­nian are to the ACCC’s two key ac­cu­sa­tions. In a doc­u­ment ob­tained from the court, Tri­vago said its “low­est rate state­ments may have caused some con­sumers to form an er­ro­neous be­lief that the ini­tial search page of­fers were the low­est rates” when in truth there may have been cheaper of­fers in a “more deals” sec­tion.

In the doc­u­ment, filed on Tues­day, Tri­vago then ad­mits it “en­gaged in con­duct in con­tra­ven­tion” of two sec­tions of con­sumer law.

The ACCC had ac­cused Tri­vago of mak­ing dodgy sav­ings claims by com­par­ing some providers’ prices for lux­ury rooms with oth­ers’ prices for stan­dard rooms.

The lux­ury room was pre­sented in red with a “strikethrough price” above an­other site’s stan­dard room “top po­si­tion of­fer” in green.

In its re­sponse to the ACCC’s claims, Tri­vago said it “may have caused some con­sumers to form an er­ro­neous be­lief that the top po­si­tion of­fer and the strikethrough price were of­fers for rooms in the same room cat­e­gory”.

Tri­vago then ad­mits, again, to breach­ing mul­ti­ple breaches of con­sumer law.

Pic­ture: ELLA PELLAGRINI

FALSE CLAIMS: The face of the Tri­vago TV ad­verts, Gabrielle ad­ver­tise­ments for the travel site. Miller. In­set,

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