Airbnb Hit With Massive $10M Penalty For Confessing To Misleading Australian Customers With USD Charges

Airbnb Inc. ABNB recently ran into some hot water – on Wednesday, they were slammed with a massive AU$15 million ($10 million) fine from an Australian court for misleading its customers over the currency used for certain transactions. According to CNBC, this affected approximately 63,000 users between 2018 – the year it began – and August 2021.

Upon admission of the alleged wrongdoings, Airbnb made amendments and changes to its platform on August 31, 2021 – adding the “USD” abbreviation next to U.S. dollar payments – to be more up front and transparent with their pricing. The Regional Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Susan Wheeldon, expressed regret for the incident and vowed greater efforts to avoid a similar dispute in the future.

In addition to the fine, the court ordered Airbnb to compensate the affected individuals, and so far, the company has promised to release an extra AU$15 million to eligible customers.

The case was, as expected, prosecuted by Australia’s watchdog for such matters, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and its Chair, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, believes the results send strong signals to international digital leading enterprises to follow the regulations imposed by Australia’s Consumer Laws.

Robert Wilson author
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