Airbnb Fined $30 Million for Tricking Customers

Airbnb Fined $30 Million for Tricking Customers

Federal Court Takes Action

Guess what? Airbnb just got hit with a massive $30 million fine! Why? Well, it turns out they were tricking their Australian customers by charging them in US dollars instead of their currency. This sneaky move affected around 70,000 people and broke the law!

A $15 Million Fine and Compensation

Not only did the court make Airbnb pay a whopping $15 million fine, but they also ordered the company to compensate the affected customers. That means they have to give back the money they took and cover any conversion fees. In total, the compensation could add up to $15 million, which averages out to about $230 per customer.

Tricky Tactics for Three Years

Airbnb wasn’t just pulling this trick for a short time. Nope, they were at it for a whole three years! From January 2018 to August 2021, they were slyly showing prices in US dollars without clearly telling people. That’s a lot of people who got fooled!

Confusing Currency Disclosure

The judge in the case, Justice Shaun McElwaine, pointed out that Airbnb didn’t do a good job of telling customers that the prices were in US dollars. They only mentioned it at the bottom of the first three web pages, and even then, it wasn’t very clear. It wasn’t until the fourth page when customers confirmed their booking, that Airbnb made it more obvious. Sneaky, right?

Airbnb Admits They Messed Up

Right from the start, Airbnb admitted that it broke the law. They knew they were misleading their customers, and that’s not cool. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) started this whole legal mess, and Airbnb had to own up to its mistakes.

Blaming a Software Bug

Airbnb tried to make excuses by blaming a software bug. They said the bug made it so Australian customers weren’t automatically shown prices in their currency. But guess what? The court didn’t buy it. They found out that Airbnb’s board knew about customer complaints since 2018. So, no more excuses!

Did Airbnb Benefit from Tricking Customers?

The judge thinks Airbnb might have benefited from their sneaky tactics. By making it seem like their prices were in Australian dollars, they made their accommodations look cheaper than their competitors. It’s all about those exchange rates, you know?

Getting Compensation for Affected Customers

Now, here’s the good news. Airbnb has to pay that $15 million fine and cover the ACCC’s court costs of $400,000. They also have to reach out to the 70,000 affected customers within the next 45 days to start the compensation process. But if you think you’re eligible and haven’t heard from them, don’t worry! You can contact Airbnb directly.

NAF Presidential Aircraft Sale

Airbnb Says Sorry and Fixes the Problem

Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand, apologized for the whole mess. She said they fixed the problem as soon as they found out about it. Before the fix, the US dollar symbol showed up without the three-letter currency code, which confused a lot of people. The head of the ACCC, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, is happy with the court’s decision and thinks it’s a win for the customers.

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