Trivago’s credibility has taken a  huge hit after the travel search giant admitted running misleading television advertisements and breaking two sections of Australian consumer law – actions that could be punished with fines of up to $10 million.

The admissions were contained Federal Court documents obtained by News Limited and published though its newspapers and websites yesterday.

Trivago was taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in August for running up to 400,000 ads that claimed huge savings on rooms it portrayed as identical but were in fact different – for example, a standard room rate compared with a luxury room.

In the Federal Court documents obtained by News Limited, Trivago admitted its “lowest rates statements may have caused some consumers to form an erroneous belief that the initial search page offers were the lowest rates”.

Trivago also admits it “engaged in conduct in contravention” of two sections of consumer law.

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