Airbnb is in the Federal Court of Australia APNB A holiday rental company has been ordered to pay A$15 million ($A10.1 million) in fines and A$15 million in compensation after it admitted misleading consumers about accommodation prices, the Australian Competition Commission announced on Wednesday.
Between January 2018 and August 2021, Airbnb Ireland, which operates in Australia, admitted it misled consumers by displaying prices only with a “dollar” symbol without making it clear that prices were in US dollars and not the local currency, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a statement.
“By paying in US dollars, these consumers were charged more than they expected, and this misconduct deprived them of the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether to book,” said ACCC chair Gina Cass Gottlieb.
Airbnb has worked constructively with the ACCC, said Susan Wheelton, Airbnb Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand.
“Although only a very small percentage of Australian guests were affected, we are disappointed that this happened. Airbnb would like to apologize to these guests,” Wheelton said.
Airbnb, which operates an online marketplace for homestays, has received more than 2,000 complaints from Australian customers about being charged in US dollars.
The ACCC launched proceedings in June (link) against the company and its Irish division for allegedly providing consumers with misleading information about the currency used for Australian accommodation bookings.
(1 dollar = 1.4804 Australian dollars)
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