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Huge Penalty On the Cards For Airbnb

Airbnb has acknowledged violating Australian consumer law

Airbnb Faces A$30 Million Penalty for Currency Misleading in Australia

Airbnb is grappling with a hefty A$30 million penalty for misleading Australian customers regarding the currency it charged, following a ruling by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The vacation rentals platform has been directed to pay A$15 million for failing to explicitly communicate that certain bookings were not in Australian dollars. In addition to the financial penalty, Airbnb is required to compensate thousands of Australian customers for refunds and conversion fees, estimated to amount to another A$15 million.

The misleading practice occurred between January 2018 and August 2021, during which Airbnb displayed prices using the ” $” sign without clarifying that the rates were in US dollars, impacting over 60,000 customers.

Airbnb has acknowledged violating Australian consumer law in this regard and attributed the lapse to a software error. Over 2,000 customers lodged complaints about being charged in US dollars.

“Eligible consumers will be contacted by Airbnb within the next 45 days and invited to lodge a claim, but they can also contact Airbnb to ask about their claim if they think they are eligible,” stated ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb. The resolution highlights the consequences of misleading practices in the digital marketplace, urging companies to uphold transparency in their dealings with consumers.