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Rental booking platform charged with misleading consumers

16 July 2019
Release No. 6

Online holiday rental booking platform charged with misleading consumers


Holiday rental-accommodation management and booking company Bachcare is facing two charges under the Fair Trading Act for allegedly misleading consumers by manipulating online reviews posted by users of its accommodation services.

The charges follow a Commerce Commission investigation and relate to conduct between 1 June 2017 and 28 September 2018.

The Commission alleges Bachcare removed negative comments from some consumer reviews before publishing them on its website and did not publish any reviews to which consumers had given a star rating of less than 3.5 out of 5. In doing so, the Commission alleges Bachcare engaged in conduct that was liable to mislead consumers by creating artificially positive impressions about certain properties.

The case will be called in the Auckland District Court on 13 August 2019.

As the matter is before the court, the Commission will make no further comment at this time.

Background
Bachcare is a holiday rental-accommodation management company. It actively manages the bookings and subsequent stays of tourists in short-term bach-like accommodation around New Zealand. Bachcare currently manages around 2000 properties around the country, with more than 150,000 customers per year.

Online reviews
Online reviews provide an increasingly important source of information for customers contemplating the purchase of goods and services. Reviews must be genuine and presented in a way that does not mislead the reader about the overall message intended by the reviewer. You can find more information in our guidance for collecting and publishing online reviews on our website.


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