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HHG Legal Group’s Commercial Litigation Director Murray Thornhill and Lawyer, Alex Turner, explains how one of Australia’s most popular third-party travel sites breached Australian Consumer Law.

The popular online travel site Trivago misled Australian consumers about hotel rates, the Federal Court of Australia has found. In proceedings brought by the Australian consumer watchdog, it was alleged that Trivago engaged in misleading conduct and made false representations to consumers.


The ACCC argued that Trivago engaged in conduct which, among other things, led consumers to believe that the Trivago website provided an impartial, objective and transparent price comparison which would enable the consumer to quickly and easily identify the cheapest available offer for a particular (or the exact same) room at a particular hotel, which was found to be untrue.

The Court found that Trivago had engaged in the conduct alleged, and had contravened sections 18, 29 and 34 of the Australian Consumer Law. Penalties will be decided by the Court at a later date. The penalties for contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law can be substantial. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of this matter plays out, and whether it leads to any changes in the way that online comparison websites operate.

The ACCC has previously indicated it will continue to target comparison websites which mislead consumers into thinking they are getting a good deal, without properly disclosing the commissions they receive from consumer clicks.

Trivago may be a large multinational company, but the prohibitions on misleading conduct apply to businesses of all sizes who provide consumer goods and services. If you have any questions about consumer rights or your obligations to consumers, please contact HHG Legal Group Director, Murray Thornhill.


*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.