Hotel booking website admits to 'ripping off' its customers

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One of the world’s biggest hotel booking websites, Trivago, has admitted to misleading its customers.

The hotel booking site will face millions of dollars in fines after being caught out comparing rates from standard rooms with premium suites and advertising the difference as savings.

In a statement on the ACCC website, the watchdog said that Trivago’s practice pointed customers towards advertisers who were paying the highest cost per click, such as and Expedia.

Earlier this year, the ACCC took Trivago to the Federal Court, alleging that the site breached Australian Consumer Law by making misleading claims about pricing in its television advertising campaign and on its website.

The watchdog took exception to Trivago’s TV and web advertisements, on which the hotel price comparison service claims to be impartial and objective, allowing customers to find the cheapest prices for rooms.

With the latest admission, Trivago could face fines of $10 million or more depending on how many people have been affected.

Do you use Trivago to book accommodation? Do you trust online travel booking sites?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 10
  1. 0

    I don’t use trivago because I like just using one site so all my bookings are managed from one app/website. I’m not at all surprised at this finding by the ACCC.

    I’ve found expedia is pretty much the cheapest and I have no issues with changing bookings, charges, refunds and so on and have never had problems at a hotel over a booking through them. I’d hate to book 15 hotels for a trip and have to try to remember who each one has been booked through.

  2. 0

    I use ‘bookings’ because they are flexible in changing, deleting already made bookings and they charge one/two weeks before commencing of the holiday date.

  3. 0

    Unlike the previous post I would not recommend Expedia, After double booking me and after I pointed out their mistake I was advised that I would have to contact the head office in the U.S.A.and it may take some time to resolve, after one week I rang again and was offered a credit note for the sum in question which I refused, I have not been contacted by Expedia at all. As I had used AMEX to pay for the ticket they acted to refund one of the payments. However on boarding at Sydney I was given boarding passes for different seats on the same flight

  4. 0

    A few years ago I booked through one of the web sites. When I checked in they asked me to next time call them direct and they would do a better deal as they were charged quite a high commission. I now check the web for prices, then ring the motel direct for a price, then negotiate for a further discount to pay cash.

  5. 0

    Never used Trivago because I assumed this would be happening. I have used others, Wotif,, but now just use those sites for researching the best motel/hotel (quality v price) and then go on to the actual motel/hotel website to book the room.

  6. 0

    Trivago should be driven out of business.

    • 0

      Why ? No ones putting a gun to your head
      Use a bit of initiative and research for yourself

      Do you want an RC in booking sites as well now ???

  7. 0

    Good to hear they have been fined. Their annoying ads show false price differences between hotels of up to $20 which is not realistic as usually the dollar difference is minimal. I try to book at the actual hotel where possible.

    • 0

      I booked with Trivago once and when the costs came up on screen there were other add ons that weren’t mentioned , which increased the total charge by around $30. I have booked with the hotel directly for years after that, never a problem



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