The Federal Court has held that Meriton misled consumers on the popular travel website TripAdvisor by limiting the email addresses they supplied to the travel site for reviews or only supplying those of guests likely to give positive comments.

In Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Meriton Property Services Pty Ltd (No. 2) [2018] FCA 1125, Meriton was found to have breached s34 of the Australian Consumer Law and was fined $3 million for their actions.

TripAdvisor requires their accommodation providers to supply the email addresses of guests that used the site to book their stay, and sends an email at the conclusion of the visit asking the guests to review the accommodation. However it was determined in court that Meriton’s standard operating procedure was to ask guests about their stay at check out, and if they responded negatively their email addresses would not be passed on to TripAdvisor. Meriton would also withhold all of the email addresses of guests whenever there was a service disruption at their property such as a broken lift or leak.

 

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