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Meriton to fight ACCC legal action

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016

Property mogul Harry Triguboff has criticised the competition watchdog for wasting public money on its legal action against his company for allegedly preventing guests from posting negative online reviews.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleges Meriton Serviced Apartments sought to prevent guests it suspected would be critical of their experience from receiving emails from TripAdvisor prompting them to post a review.

Many businesses provide the travel website with email addresses of customers that consent to passing on their details, but the ACCC alleges Meriton inserted extra letters in some email addresses or didn't provide any address, in order to prevent Tripadvisor from contacting certain customers.

The alleged conduct occurred between November 2014 and October 2015.

The first case management hearing will be held in the Federal Court on Friday, and Mr Triguboff, the managing director of Meriton, says the company will fight the proceedings.

"I think that the money the ACCC has spent on private lawyers to bring this case to court could have been better spent elsewhere," he said.

"The ACCC knows that we fixed the problem over a year ago.

"They are welcome to come and see how we do things now and into the future.

"They still have not been able to tell me who complained. Who says they were misled?

"The ACCC should spend public money on matters that really affect people's lives."

Meriton faces a fine of up to $1.1 million per breach, subject to the judge's ruling, according to the ACCC.

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