This month, Trivago was issued a $44.7 million penalty over misleading and deceptive conduct by the ACCC after falsely representing what the cheapest rates were for a hotel.  In this case, (ACCC v Trivago NV (No 2)) , Trivago portrayed itself as a company that made it easy ‘to find the ideal hotel for the best price.’

However, Trivago has been found to have been making misleading representations to consumers including using strike-through prices which give the impression that the Trivago rates represent in a saving when in reality, they often compare a standard room to a luxury room at the same hotel. The Federal Court also found that Trivago used an algorithm which gave significant weight to which online hotel booking site paid Trivago the highest cost-per-click fee, which obviously did not correspond with the cheapest rates for consumers.

This is the second time in 2 years that Trivago has been fined for breaching Australian Consumer Law by misleading consumers that its website provides consumers with the quickest and easiest way to identify the best deals available for a given hotel.

The significant fine represents a strong warning to businesses like Trivago about the seriousness of misleading and deceptive conduct.

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