Airbnb sued by ACCC for ‘misleading’ customers into thinking they were paying in Australian dollars

Airbnb sued by watchdog for allegedly misleading customers into spending hundreds more on bookings after thinking they were paying in Australian dollars

  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission sues Airbnb
  • Watchdog says Airbnb didn’t tell guests they were paying in US dollars
  • Customers were paying hundreds more after not converting
  • ACCC alleges Airbnb failed to refund money when people complained

Travel accommodation company Airbnb is being sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for allegedly misleading customers.

The ACCC alleges that between January 2018 and August 2021, Airbnb displayed prices on its website for Australian accommodations without specifying that the prices were in US dollars.

“We allege that Airbnb’s deceptive conduct meant that consumers were deprived of the opportunity to make an informed choice about whether, and at what price, to book their vacation accommodation on the Airbnb platform,” the statement said Wednesday. ACCC President Gina Cass-Gottlieb.

“In addition to paying higher than expected prices, some consumers who were billed in US dollars also found themselves more disadvantaged due to currency conversion fees charged by their credit card provider.”

ACCC President Gina Cass-Gottlieb spoke Wednesday about the Watchdog case against Airbnb

Airbnb sued by ACCC over currency changes

Airbnb sued by ACCC over currency changes

When thousands of people complained to Airbnb that they were charged more than the listed price, the company allegedly falsely told many of them that they had chosen US currency.

During the allegedly incriminated period, an Australian customer who believed he was paying $500 for his booking allegedly paid nearly A$700 before conversion charges.

“Airbnb failed to compensate many consumers who complained about this behavior,” Ms. Cass-Gottlieb said.

“Despite thousands of consumers complaining to Airbnb about how prices were displayed, Airbnb only changed its booking platform after the ACCC raised the issue.”

“We will therefore argue that the court should order Airbnb to compensate those who were misled about the price of their accommodation.”

The ACCC filed the lawsuit in Federal Court on Tuesday, seeking compensation for affected consumers and other orders.

AAP has contacted Airbnb for comment.


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