ACCC suing Airbnb around allegations of misleading Aussie customers

The Australian Level of competition and Client Commission is suing Airbnb in Federal Court about allegations the worldwide firm misled Australians about the cost of lodging.

The purchaser watchdog claims Airbnb displayed costs in US bucks, but deceived Australian consumers into wondering they were being getting revealed the price tag in Australian forex.

In accordance to the ACCC allegations, Airbnb falsely represented the value of the accommodation to hundreds of Australian consumers amongst January 2018 and August 2021.

The watchdog statements Airbnb misleadingly shown costs for Australian lodging with only a dollar signal, devoid of specifying the quantity relevant to the extra highly-priced US forex.

In some cases, the ACCC alleges Airbnb made the distinction crystal clear – but only following the consumer had reserved the lodging.

With the typical conversion charge of .72 US cents to a person Australian greenback around the three a long time, Australian end users were being spending a considerably greater price for lodging than was advertised. The ACCC estimates consumers who booked for a $500 rental paid $200 a lot more than planned immediately after remaining billed in US pounds.

The watchdog claims buyers were being only made aware of the increased selling price right after they had been billed, fairly than for the duration of the reserving system.

The ACCC alleges Australians using Airbnb were charged in US dollars, despite using the Australian website.Digicam IconThe ACCC alleges Australians making use of Airbnb were charged in US bucks, in spite of using the Australian web site. Credit: Equipped

“We allege that Airbnb’s deceptive carry out meant that buyers were deprived of the opportunity to make an educated choice about regardless of whether, and at what price, to guide their holiday break lodging on the Airbnb system,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb stated.

“In addition to shelling out larger prices than envisioned, some customers who were being billed in US dollars also observed them selves further more out of pocket by way of currency conversion costs charged by their credit score card service provider.”

When prospects complained to the system about becoming charged larger charges, the ACCC claims Airbnb acted deceptively by “falsely” telling prospects they had selected to show the cost in US pounds.

The lodging system refused to compensate buyers of the Australian web-site who experienced paid for their rentals in US bucks.

JOSH FRYDENBERG AND GINA CASS-GOTTLIEBDigicam IconChairperson of the Australian Competition and Shopper Fee, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, stands firm on the final decision to take Airbnb to Federal Courtroom. Gary Ramage Credit rating: Information Corp Australia

In a person response documented in the court files, a person was advised “there will be no refund … simply because there is no error on our close.”

The ACCC mentioned it is in search of compensation for affected individuals, as properly as economical penalties and legal charges.

The watchdog promises ongoing complaints from people about the forex display screen problem were dismissed or dismissed.

“Despite 1000’s of consumers complaining to Airbnb about the way price ranges had been shown, Airbnb didn’t amend its scheduling system until eventually right after the ACCC raised the situation,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb mentioned.

“By taking this motion, we are stating extremely plainly that electronic platforms like Airbnb want to make sure the accuracy of all statements that might have an affect on consumers’ obtaining choices.”

The ACCC is urging customers who ended up impacted by problems with the forex exhibited on the Airbnb web page to get in speak to.

The go to get Airbnb to Federal Court comes seven several years soon after the ACCC secured a court docket-enforced undertaking from the enterprise in response to the way prices had been shown on the platform.

Airbnb has been contacted for comment.

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