Australia accuses Airbnb of misleading customers on price
The accommodation-sharing website is accused of tricking customers with US dollar quotes – when they were paying much higher rates in Australian dollars.
Australia’s antitrust regulator has filed a lawsuit against Airbnb, accusing the accommodation-sharing website of misleading users into paying more than advertised for their stays, widening its scrutiny of global technology platforms.
From 2018 to 2021, the San Francisco-based internet giant advertised and charged room rates in US dollars without indicating the much higher figures in Australian dollars, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a court filing that it made public on Wednesday.
Airbnb refused to refund users who complained about being misled, saying they had chosen to view rates in US dollars even though users said they had not, the ACCC said in the filing. Airbnb also refused to refund currency conversion fees, claiming they were banks’ responsibility, the regulator said.
Airbnb was not available for comment.
The lawsuit puts Airbnb in the company of several high-profile targets of a regulator bent on reining in the power of big technology firms. Last year, its actions led to Facebook and Google paying media outlets content licensing fees.
It is currently conducting a review of Amazon.com and other online retailers that may recommend changes to the sector.
In the Airbnb lawsuit, the ACCC said users “were deprived of the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether and at what price to book accommodation”.
They “suffered further harm in the form of price difference costs and, in at least some cases, transaction fee costs”, the regulator said, without giving dollar amounts.
Airbnb stood to benefit unfairly over competitors because the “false and misleadingly low prices conveyed … made the accommodation available on the platform appear to be more attractive”, the ACCC said.
The ACCC said it is seeking an unspecified fine and court orders for Airbnb to compensate affected customers. In a statement, it said thousands of people had complained to Airbnb about the difference in advertised prices and amounts charged.
The Australian dollar bought an average of 72 US cents during the time covered by the lawsuit, meaning a customer renting accommodation advertised at $500 would actually pay around A$700 plus foreign exchange fees, the regulator said. BM
Daily Maverick © All rights reserved
|__cfduid||1 month||The cookie is used by cdn services like CloudFlare to identify individual clients behind a shared IP address and apply security settings on a per-client basis. It does not correspond to any user ID in the web application and does not store any personally identifiable information.|
|_GRECAPTCHA||5 months 27 days||This cookie is set by Google. In addition to certain standard Google cookies, reCAPTCHA sets a necessary cookie (_GRECAPTCHA) when executed for the purpose of providing its risk analysis.|
|cid||1 year||This is an important cookie in making credit card transaction on the website. It allows the online transaction without storing the credit card information.This service is provided by Stripe.com.|
|connect.sid||1 month||This cookie is used for authentication and for secure log-in. It registers the log-in information.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|
|elementor||never||This cookie is used by the website's WordPress theme. It allows the website owner to implement or change the website's content in real-time.|
|JSESSIONID||session||Used by sites written in JSP. General purpose platform session cookies that are used to maintain users' state across page requests.|
|PHPSESSID||session||This cookie is native to PHP applications. The cookie is used to store and identify a users' unique session ID for the purpose of managing user session on the website. The cookie is a session cookies and is deleted when all the browser windows are closed.|
|__atuvc||1 year 1 month||This cookie is set by Addthis to make sure you see the updated count if you share a page and return to it before our share count cache is updated.|
|__cf_bm||30 minutes||This cookie is set by CloudFlare. The cookie is used to support Cloudflare Bot Management.|
|__pvi||1 day||This cookie is used for the implementation of the news content from other sites.|
|bcookie||2 years||This cookie is set by linkedIn. The purpose of the cookie is to enable LinkedIn functionalities on the page.|
|lidc||1 day||This cookie is set by LinkedIn and used for routing.|
|d||3 months||This cookie tracks anonymous information on how visitors use the website.|
|__gads||1 year 24 days||This cookie is set by Google and stored under the name dounleclick.com. This cookie is used to track how many times users see a particular advert which helps in measuring the success of the campaign and calculate the revenue generated by the campaign. These cookies can only be read from the domain that it is set on so it will not track any data while browsing through another sites.|
|_ga||2 years||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookies store information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.|
|_ga_Y7XD5FHQVG||2 years||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics.|
|_gat_UA-10686674-1||1 minute||This is a pattern type cookie set by Google Analytics, where the pattern element on the name contains the unique identity number of the account or website it relates to. It appears to be a variation of the _gat cookie which is used to limit the amount of data recorded by Google on high traffic volume websites.|
|_gid||1 day||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the website is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages visted in an anonymous form.|
|ajs_anonymous_id||never||This cookie is set by Segment.io to check the number of ew and returning visitors to the website.|
|ajs_user_id||never||The cookie is set by Segment.io and is used to analyze how you use the website|
|ANON_ID||3 months||This cookie is provided by Tribalfusion. The cookie is used to give a unique number to visitors, and collects data on user behaviour like what page have been visited. This cookie also helps to understand which sale has been generated by as a result of the advertisement served by third party.|
|jam_heavy_ga_session||5 years||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics.|
|UserID1||3 months||The cookie sets a unique anonymous ID for a website visitor. This ID is used to continue to identify users across different sessions and track their activities on the website. The data collected is used for analysis.|
|uvc||1 year 1 month||The cookie is set by addthis.com to determine the usage of Addthis.com service.|
|__tbc||2 years||This cookie is used for measuring the efficiency of advertisement by registering data on visitors from multiple website.|
|_cc_aud||8 months 26 days|
|_cc_dc||8 months 26 days|
|_cc_id||8 months 26 days|
|_kuid_||5 months 27 days||The cookie is set by Krux Digital under the domain krxd.net. The cookie stores a unique ID to identify a returning user for the purpose of targeted advertising.|
|_rxuuid||1 year||The main purpose of this cookie is targeting, advertesing and effective marketing. This cookie is used to set a unique ID to the visitors, which allow third party advertisers to target the visitors with relevant advertisement up to 1 year.|
|ANON_ID_old||3 months||This cookie helps to categorise the users interest and to create profiles in terms of resales of targeted marketing. This cookie is used to collect user information such as what pages have been viewed on the website for creating profiles.|
|bscookie||2 years||This cookie is a browser ID cookie set by Linked share Buttons and ad tags.|
|CMID||1 year||The cookie is set by CasaleMedia. The cookie is used to collect information about the usage behavior for targeted advertising.|
|CMPRO||3 months||This cookie is set by Casalemedia and is used for targeted advertisement purposes.|
|CMPS||3 months||This cookie is set by Casalemedia and is used for targeted advertisement purposes.|
|DSID||1 hour||This cookie is setup by doubleclick.net. This cookie is used by Google to make advertising more engaging to users and are stored under doubleclick.net. It contains an encrypted unique ID.|
|google_push||5 minutes||This cookie is set by the Bidswitch. This cookie is used to collect statistical data related to the user website visit such as the number of visits, average time spent on the website and what pages have been loaded. This collected information is used to sort out the users based on demographics and geographical locations inorder to serve them with relevant online advertising.|
|i||1 year||The purpose of the cookie is not known yet.|
|id||3 months||The main purpose of this cookie is targeting and advertising. It is used to create a profile of the user's interest and to show relevant ads on their site. This Cookie is set by DoubleClick which is owned by Google.|
|IDE||1 year 24 days||Used by Google DoubleClick and stores information about how the user uses the website and any other advertisement before visiting the website. This is used to present users with ads that are relevant to them according to the user profile.|
|IDSYNC||1 year||This cookie is used for advertising purposes.|
|KADUSERCOOKIE||3 months||The cookie is set by pubmatic.com for identifying the visitors' website or device from which they visit PubMatic's partners' website.|
|KTPCACOOKIE||1 day||This cookie is set by pubmatic.com for the purpose of checking if third-party cookies are enabled on the user's website.|
|ljt_reader||1 year||This is a Lijit Advertising Platform cookie. The cookie is used for recognizing the browser or device when users return to their site or one of their partner's site.|
|loc||1 year 1 month||This cookie is set by Addthis. This is a geolocation cookie to understand where the users sharing the information are located.|
|mc||1 year 1 month||This cookie is associated with Quantserve to track anonymously how a user interact with the website.|
|mt_mop||1 month||Stores information about how the user uses the website such as what pages have been loaded and any other advertisement before visiting the website for the purpose of targeted advertisements.|
|personalization_id||2 years||This cookie is set by twitter.com. It is used integrate the sharing features of this social media. It also stores information about how the user uses the website for tracking and targeting.|
|suid_legacy||1 year||This cookie is used to collect information on user preference and interactioin with the website campaign content. This cookie is used for promoting events and products by the webiste owners on CRM-campaign-platform.|
|TDCPM||1 year||The cookie is set by CloudFlare service to store a unique ID to identify a returning users device which then is used for targeted advertising.|
|test_cookie||15 minutes||This cookie is set by doubleclick.net. The purpose of the cookie is to determine if the user's browser supports cookies.|
|tluid||3 months||This cookie is set by the provider AdRoll.This cookie is used to identify the visitor and to serve them with relevant ads by collecting user behaviour from multiple websites.|
|tuuid||1 year||This cookie is set by .bidswitch.net. The cookies stores a unique ID for the purpose of the determining what adverts the users have seen if you have visited any of the advertisers website. The information is used for determining when and how often users will see a certain banner.|
|uid||5 months 27 days||This cookie is used to measure the number and behavior of the visitors to the website anonymously. The data includes the number of visits, average duration of the visit on the website, pages visited, etc. for the purpose of better understanding user preferences for targeted advertisments.|
|uuid||1 year 27 days||To optimize ad relevance by collecting visitor data from multiple websites such as what pages have been loaded.|
|VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE||5 months 27 days||This cookie is set by Youtube. Used to track the information of the embedded YouTube videos on a website.|
|wfivefivec||1 year 1 month||The domain of this cookie is owned by Dataxu. The main business activity of this cookie is targeting and advertising. This cookie tracks the advertisement report which helps us to improve the marketing activity.|
|xbc||2 years||This cookie is used for optmizing the advertisement on the website more relevant by analysing the user behaviour and interaction with the website.|
|YSC||session||This cookies is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos.|
|__cflb||23 hours||This cookie is used by Cloudflare for load balancing.|
|ajs_group_id||never||This cookie is set by Segment.io. The purpose of the cookie is currently not identified.|
|revengine-browser-token||session||RevEngine Data Tool.|
|UserMatchHistory||1 month||Linkedin - Used to track visitors on multiple websites, in order to present relevant advertisement based on the visitor's preferences.|
|vicinity_id||1 year 10 months 24 days 11 hours||Vicinity Advertising.|
Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted
Become an Insider
There are many great benefits to being a Maverick Insider. Removing advertising from your browsing experience is one of them - we don't just block ads, we redesign our pages to look smarter and load faster.
Click here to see other benefits and to sign-up to our reader community supporting quality, independent journalism.Find out More