Hotel search engine operator Trivago has been convicted in Australia of misleading consumers. The website does not offer an impartial, objective and transparent price comparison system - contrary to the impression it gives, it said in the reasoning of the judgment. The fact that the comparison portal was paid for by the online booking pages was not made clear.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (ACCC) had sued. They accused the Internet portal of not showing the cheapest hotels but giving priority to providers who pay the highest commission. "This is why consumers are being directed to the advertisers who use Trivago the most - not those who use them themselves," criticized ACCC chairman Rod Sims.
The consumer advocates also wanted to use the lawsuit to send a signal to other comparison portals so that users do not pay more than they have to.
Trivago will closely examine the court's decision, a spokeswoman announced. "We are working to quickly understand the impact of this decision on our website design," she said. The judgment gives "new clues" on how search results from comparison portals should be presented in Australia.
Trivago was founded in 2005 as a start-up in Düsseldorf. The majority shareholder is Expedia.