4 Dec 2018

Call for immediate probe of Trivago website

12:28 pm on 4 December 2018

NZ consumers are being misled about hotel prices just as Australians were, TAANZ boss says.

The Trivago website.

The Trivago website. Photo: 123rf.com

The Travel Agents' Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) hopes that a successful case against the hotel booking website Trivago for misleading consumers will prompt the Commerce Commission to open an inquiry in this country.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took the case against the international website for actions that included falsely claiming that advertised hotel deals were the best price.

The hotel comparison website has also admitted tricking consumers with dodgy discounts by comparing premium and luxury rooms, The Daily Telegraph reports.

TAANZ chief executive Andrew Olsen told Morning Report he had no doubt that New Zealanders staying at hotels had been ripped off in the same way as Australians had been.

TAANZ had lodged its own complaints about Trivago's claims two years ago and he was disappointed the Commerce Commission had not begun an investigation, he said.

He was confident that the Australian case had brought the website onto the Commerce Commission's radar and there would be contact shortly.

"We'd like to think that now they will take the appropriate steps and measures with the investigation and conclude it in the timeliest manner."

Mr Olsen said it was a public interest matter and New Zealand consumers needed to be aware of who they were purchasing hotel rooms from.

He said it was vital the website operated according to New Zealand law and it could face stiff penalties for any breaches.

Trivago was now more than 60 percent owned by another travel site, Expedia, Mr Olsen said.

He said the laws that applied for gaining any recourse for overcharging were unclear.

"In terms of New Zealanders in New Zealand making purchases they would hope they are covered by New Zealand law. We're not certain."