Airbnb responds to ACCC court decision

Comment attributable to Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand:

“The Federal Court of Australia has today ordered Airbnb Ireland UC to pay a $15 million AUD penalty and provide impacted customers with the opportunity to be compensated (up to approximately $15 million AUD) following the resolution of proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). 

“This matter related to the display of currencies on our platform and was rectified promptly once brought to our attention. 

“Ensuring our guest community is able to book with confidence and enjoy a positive travel experience is our top priority and at the heart of everything we do, and we have worked constructively with the ACCC throughout this process.  

“Due to the nature of our business, Airbnb supports a number of different currencies to give guests flexibility when they book. Currencies that use a dollar symbol are typically accompanied with a three-letter currency code, except USD which, before our update, appeared with the currency code only on the final booking page. 

“Some Australian users believed that they paid in AUD, when in fact they paid in USD. In 2021, we began showing the USD currency code throughout the entire booking process for all Australian guests booking stays in USD.

“It is important to note that the final payment amount clearly displayed the applicable currency code, including in USD, at the point at which guests confirmed they wanted to proceed with the booking. 

“While only a very small percentage of Australian guests are believed to have been impacted, we are disappointed that this happened. Airbnb would like to apologise to those guests.

“Airbnb is committed globally to price transparency. Our team continues to work diligently to find new ways to improve and innovate so that guests, Hosts and the wider community can enjoy the benefits of travel.”