The Commerce Commission says it has received 18 complaints about hotel comparison website Trivago.
Trivago, part-owned by US-based Expedia, has been found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct by Australia’s Federal Court for suggesting that top-listed prices on properties advertised on its site were the best.
But hotels were instead found to have been ranked based on commission.
“Trivago’s hotel room rate rankings were based primarily on which online hotel booking sites were willing to pay Trivago the most,” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said.
The Commerce Commission has since confirmed to the Herald that the consumer watchdog had received 18 complaints about Trivago over a five-year period, starting from January 2015.
A Commerce Commission spokesperson said it had no current investigation into Trivago’s practices in New Zealand, but noted the probe brought to court by its counterpart across the Tasman, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
It said it would continue its communication with the ACCC to ensure changes to the company’s practices enforced there would be replicated in New Zealand.
The commission investigated Trivago’s pricing in relation to “additional taxes and tariffs” in 2018 but decided not to take enforcement action, the spokesperson said.
“We have been in contact with the ACCC about their Trivago prosecution but our investigation was into different conduct to that investigated by the ACCC,” the spokesperson said.