TRAVEL website Trivago is facing legal action in the direction of serious allegations & # 39 ;. It has misled the consumer with his hotel comparison service.
The Australian competition and consumer committee claims that from December 2013 Trivago advertised itself as an impartial price comparison service when it actually preferred advertisers who were willing to pay the highest cost-per-click to Trivago.
The ACCC on Thursday morning filed a lawsuit in the Melbourne Federal Court. The website claims to combine offers from online travel sites and hotels to highlight the best deal for consumers.
But in many cases the marked price was not the cheapest available, says the ACCC.
As a result, consumers may have made a false impression that Trivago deals were the best price they could get at a given hotel, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
"It is an extremely worrying problem … the accusations are extremely serious," Mr Sims said to AAP.
The legal proceedings will determine whether Trivago has violated Australian consumer law. Any infringement can result in a fine of up to $ 1.1 million.
Sims said that if the accusations of the ACCC were to prove that it would demand a "very large" fine.
A Trivago spokesperson said the priority of the company was to help travelers in Australia find their ideal hotel.
"We are disappointed with the action the ACCC has taken with regard to Trivago and will defend our interests vigorously," the spokesman told AAP in a statement.
The consumer watchdog is also concerned about other comparison sites.
"We are extremely concerned about the fact that these kind of comparison platforms give the impression that their service benefits the consumer, while benefiting the suppliers who give them the most money," said Mr. Sims.
"It is a very serious problem for consumers in Australia."
The ACCC also claimed that Trivago's online price comparisons were false or misleading, as they often compared a standard room offer with an offer for a luxury room in the same hotel.
This created a false impression of savings, which means that consumers could have paid more than they would otherwise have, claims the guard.
The ACCC investigation was based on alleged misleading information on the Trivago website and in television advertising, which the security agent claims to have been broadcast more than 400,000 times from late 2013 to mid-2018.
The accusation against Trivago comes days after an unrelated ABC investigation that the travel agent slaughtered giant Flight Center customers.
Employees told ABC that they were encouraged to add extra costs, sometimes up to thousands of dollars in individual bookings, as part of a practice in the workplace that they hear is "part of their job".