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Meriton fined $3 million for trying to prevent negative reviews

One of Australia’s largest serviced apartment operators has been fined $3 million for trying to prevent bad reviews being posted online.

Meriton was found to have had withheld emails by guests who had complained between November 2014 and October 2015.

The consumer watchdog had initially sought $20 million from Meriton after it was found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct.

ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court tells Ben Fordham if staff suspected a guest would give the company a negative review on TripAdvisor, their email addresses were masked.

“If you manipulate reviews in this kind of way, obviously customers are not going to see the negative reviews and it’s going to be a skewed result.”

She says it “certainly wasn’t an isolated instance”.

“The judge found that it was systematic and deliberate that this was done, so we’re not talking about a few random acts.”

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